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I Am Marc Chagall (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers) Hardcover – January 7, 2006

7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6-In this novel, Chagall tells his own story. The painterly, poetic, first-person narrative is based loosely on his autobiography, My Life. It highlights the key influences on his life and art. My entire family, the whole of Vitebsk, lived inside my paintings. Reflecting his style, the three-dimensional illustrations are constructed from an eclectic assortment of materials-cardboard, fabric, sequins, weeds, and more-and set against vivid colors to create set designs, vignettes of the artist's life. Readers will be fascinated by these unusual pictures and the beautifully told story. However, to fully appreciate this book, they need an acquaintance with Chagall's work and some knowledge of 20th-century world history. Although the narrative is fact based, the line between fact and fiction is unclear. No documentation confirms quotations, thoughts, or feelings. Dated highlights of Chagall's life help to clarify some of this confusion, but children should (and will) enjoy this title as a work of fiction.-Carolyn Janssen, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 2-4. Having illustrated Paolo Guarnieri's A Boy Named Giotto (1999) and Guido Visconti's The Genius of Leonardo (2000), Italian artist Landmann contributes text as well as pictures to a portrait of another influential painter. In a first-person narrative "loosely inspired by" Chagall's autobiography and typeset in dynamic curves,Landmann charts her subject's life from his childhood in the shtetl through his 1941 emigration to the U.S.; though poignant details lend immediacy to the story, the author never addresses whether the occasional quotation marks ("Painting . . . is my window so I can fly to another world") signify Chagall's own words or authorial interpretations. Landmann's remarkable shadowbox constructions underscore her subject's view of the fluid boundaries between the mystical and the mundane, representing literal biographical scenes interspersed with the artist's signature soaring farm animals or spiritual symbols. This will speak most powerfully to readers who have previously encountered Chagall's work--perhaps in Marc Chagall (2001), by Elisabeth Lemke and Thomas David. A time line and photo of the artist anchor the book's more interpretive aspects. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Series: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (January 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802853056
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802853059
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #584,340 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Picture book biographies encompass a wide range of styles, talents, and age-groups. What a child gets out of any given biography depends entirely on why they even want a bio in the first place. I'll say right here and now that if you want a picture book biography that is just straight facts about the artist in question, without a drop of whimsy or artistic expression, go nab a copy of Mike Venezia's, "Marc Chagall". He does good report-ready work. If, on the other hand, you'd like something a little more fun and carefree, consider Bimba Landmann's, "I Am Marc Chagall". Artistically faithful to the painter in question, wonderful with its words, and an overall spellbinding introduction to a great man, this is a must-have title. You've never seen anything remotely like it before, and I doubt you'll find anything to compare to it again.

He was born in Vitebsk, a small Russian farming town within a Jewish community. A creative inquisitive kid, Marc Chagall professed a love of art very early in his life. When an art teacher proclaimed that he did have talent, Chagall was delighted. He attended art schools, painted like no one else, and always had his lovely Bella at his side. Then it was off to Paris to make a name for himself, and from then on Chagall's life was a blur. He came back to Russia to teach painting to the children and chafed under political scrutiny. Just in time he and his family sailed for America just as the Second World War broke out in Europe. Says the book, "During the journey I wondered if the silent stars above could already see my future: my life in America; my return to France after the war; the museum of my paintings in Nice; my stained glass in Jerusalem, Chicago, New York; my mosaics...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Heiss on August 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
In the biography department, this probably won't do the trick unless your child has a *very lenient* teacher.

But in the imagination department, this book will blow you away.

Bimba Landmann illustrated this book with found-object collages that DO NOT duplicate Chagall's work, but still manage to evoke that Chagall quality. That other-worldliness. That life-is-beautiful-and-surprising character of Chagall's art. Her illustrations are exactly right for this book.

The text is good -- especially if you are looking to relate this book to a child who seems to try a lot of things without finding something that "clicks" for them. The book does a great job of describing how Chagall was surprised by his success and popularity. And it also discusses war and the dread and sorrow of it.

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Kamin on January 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This picture book biography is loosely based on Marc Chagall's autobiography My Life. Beginning with his childhood in a small Russian farming town, Landmann details his early life, his family's observances of the Jewish holidays, his schooling, and the development of his artistic talent, despite being discouraged and unappreciated by his family and teachers. Chagall's experience in art school, his moves to Paris, Germany, and America, his marriage, and his involvement in the Russian Revolution are also included. The detailed, intricate three-dimensional mixed media illustrations are a collage of fabrics, metals, woods, papers, clay, photographs, and objects from nature. They do an incredible job of capturing the places and characters of Chagall's life and will delight readers through multiple readings and viewings. A timeline of Chagall's life is also included making this a wonderfully accessible, highly entertaining, and exceptional introduction to one of the greatest painters in the world.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jewish Book World Magazine on October 3, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Inspired by Chagall's biography, My Life, Landmann has merged the artist's life and the development of his artistic style into this visually dramatic children's book.

The dialogue captures the dream-like quality of the artist's work, and the illustrations recreate and reflect Chagall's art through coloration and medium. Her use of texture demonstrates the feel of Chagall's abstract and surrealistic view of the world.

The text tackles several difficult topics, ranging from self-development, self-identity, the creative process and the ability to verbalize personal desires within a family structure. In a compressed timeframe, Chagall's life is integrated into the historical events of the century. Landmann uses the historical references to establish Chagall's concept that the real world is within each of us.

Judaic elements run through the story. Chagall the boy goes to Hebrew school and studies Torah while searching for his identity. The events of revolution, war, hardship and escape, and their impact on Jews, are woven into the text.

A timeline provides an accurate history of the artist's life and a correlation to his paintings. Recommended for age 8 and up. Reviewed by: Christine Maasdam
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