From School Library Journal
Grade 1-4–Opening with the artist's dramatic birth during a fire in a small Russian village, Markel describes Chagall's childhood and early career. The village, his extended family, and deep Jewish roots are all emphasized, elements that are central to understanding his art. The author explains how Chagall saw the world, and himself, in a different way. He painted the way he felt, not how things actually were, which makes his work unique. The language is often poetic: The town was like a richness that filled him and later: silver stars trembled on a velvet spring sky. Markel makes Chagall and his work accessible to children. Indeed, children are closer to the world of dreams and imagination than most adults, and many will find his work very appealing. The vivid illustrations are inspired by Chagall, but Lisker doesn't attempt to copy his style directly. Only one actual reproduction is included at the end, along with a brief author's note, a traditional biography, and a short glossary of Jewish terms used in the text. This is not a biography for reports, but rather an excellent portrait of an artist that will open and expand children's minds.–Robin L. Gibson, formerly at Perry County District Library, New Lexington, OH
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K-Gr. 3. Both straightforward and whimsical, this well-paced picture-book biography of Marc Chagall follows the artist from childhood to his triumphant showing at the Louvre, when he was 90. Brief paragraphs describe Chagall's early sense that he "was different from other boys. He saw things they didn't see." Those visions are blended into the story's busy, bright acrylic paintings, and children may have trouble separating dream and biography in the crowded spreads and passages of text, such as, "One afternoon, the color of this uncle's skin drifted out the window, onto the street." They may also need more explanation about Jewish references mentioned in the book, though the brief glossary will help. But even if children don't understand the sense in all the words, Markel's book is a creative introduction to the artist that reinforces the notion that pictures can show ideas and feelings, rather than "the way things really look." More biographical details close. Also suggest Marc Chagall
(2001) by Elisabeth Lemke and Thomas David, which includes reproductions of Chagall's work. Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved