cover image Fantas Drawng Dan CL

Fantas Drawng Dan CL

Barbara McClintock. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $17 (30pp) ISBN 978-0-395-73980-8

It is turn-of-the-century Paris, and Danielle loves to draw: ""dancing storks and dashing foxes--the more fantastic the better."" Her photographer father encourages her to try realistic pictures, but Danielle's imagination is so wild it can't be restrained. An attempt to sketch Parisians strolling along the Seine results in the bare trees bursting with giant roses, two well-dressed birds walking a carp on a leash, a giraffe munching the vegetables that decorate her hat. McClintock (Animal Fables from Aesop) presents these apparitions in deadpan illustrations; the only nod to their provenance is the image of Danielle, bent over her sketchbook. When Danielle's father falls ill, the girl finds work with one Madame Beton, who paints fantastic pictures with great skill; Danielle has found a mentor. The book's color scheme and format recall delicate late Victorian vignettes, but Danielle's whimsical drawings gently satirize that simple prettiness. The delicious celebration of creativity is grounded by McClintock's subtle portrait of the tiny family: Danielle's father will probably never understand her art, but he loves her and admires her resourcefulness. Enticing--and an inspiration to young artists. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)