A Thousand Glass Flowers: Marietta Barovier and the Invention of the Rosetta Bead

Evan Turk. Atheneum, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-5344-1034-3
Byzantine masterworks and period costumes give a sense of luxury to this picture biography by Turk (You Are Home) about Venice’s first female glassblower, Marietta Barovier. Marietta’s father, “a master of glass,” has a workshop on the island of Murano; “Marietta dreamed of creating glass too, but glass was men’s work.” She begs to learn to blow glass, her wide face dominated by huge, wondering eyes, and her father shows her how in front of a blazing furnace. Later, he takes her by gondola to Venice, where they view a precious glass bowl made using a lost, Roman-era technology, and she sees the mosaics of San Marco: “Marietta gaped at the twinkling golden scenes, shimmering with millions of individual pieces.” As an adult running her father’s glassworks with her brothers, she rediscovers the lost technique, making delicate, colorful beads treasured as currency across “the Renaissance world.” A triumphant tale of a girl who defeats tradition, it’s also a visual homage to Venice, which Turk renders with vigorous pastel strokes in glorious hues. An author’s note offers contextualizing information. Ages 4–8. Agent: Brenda Bowen, the Book Group. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 06/25/2020
Release date: 08/18/2020
Genre: Children's
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