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Frida (English Language Edition) Hardcover – February 1, 2002


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Frida (English Language Edition) + Frida Kahlo: The Artist who Painted Herself (Smart About Art)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 280L (What's this?)
  • Series: Americas Award for Children's and Young Adult Literature Honorable Mention (Awards)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books; Library Binding edition (February 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0590203207
  • ISBN-13: 978-0590203203
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 9.8 x 11.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #32,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Beset by one shattering ordeal after another, world-renowned painter Frida Kahlo always managed to channel her anguish into creativity. Frida, by Jonah Winter and illustrator Ana Juan, is an exquisite and playful glimpse into the artist's life and work. Filled with the folk art icons of Frida's Mexican culture--monkeys, devils, smiling skeletons, and sympathetic jaguars depicted with acrylics and wax on paper--the book describes, in short streams of text, the feisty, irreverent, fierce nature of the artist. One especially memorable illustration, based on one of Frida Kahlo's own paintings, shows Frida herself caught in a tangle of thorns against a mournful blue night sky. The text reads, "After the accident ... her body will hurt, always." Author and illustrator's notes add background information, but this stunning book from the author of Diego, about famed Mexican muralist (and husband of Frida) Diego Rivera, is a spectacular, lush introduction to an inspiring woman and her art. (Ages 5 to 8) --Emilie Coulter

From Publishers Weekly

Winter, who brought the Mexican muralist vividly to life in Diego, focuses on Diego Rivera's bride, Frida Kahlo an accomplished artist in her own right in this striking picture book-biography. With a spare narrative more akin to poetry than prose, the author touches on important events in his subject's childhood Frida's loneliness and the polio that kept her bedridden for months, as well as a bus accident, at age 18, that nearly killed her. He then shows how, each time, art helped her to transcend her injuries ("She turns her pain into something beautiful") and to unleash her magically surreal vision of the world in paintings ("In museums, people still look at them and weep and sigh and smile"). Juan, a Spanish fine artist and New Yorker cover artist making her children's book debut, creates artwork bursting with saturated color and infused with Mexican folk art motifs that also influenced Frida's own style. Floating figures, fantastical creatures and celestial bodies with human features cavort across the pages. Ana transforms Frida herself from a solemn, moon-faced child with uncompromising eyebrows (her well-known physical trait) to a woman whose gaunt features hint at both strength and inner struggle. One particularly breathtaking image shows the artist floating against a night sky, eyes closed and arms crossed on her chest in a death pose, held in the grip of a tree's thorny, gnarled branches ("Her body will hurt, always"). An outstanding introduction to an influential artist. Ages 4-10.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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I think everyone would love it and be moved by it.
trypanophobic34
It is a very appropriate book for children; it tells Frida's story simple and clear for children to understand.
fb0207965
I would recommend this book as a great starting point for introducing art and artists to young children.
JB pop-Eggs

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By petranela on October 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love the look and feel of this beautiful book. I am certain that it is no small task to select several phrases to depict the life of such a complicated and talented artist. Unfortunately the author falls into a common trap. Frida's father, the book reads, was an artist who inspired Frida and taught her to paint on photographs. The author writes that her mother on the other hand "takes care of six daughters" and is often "tired" as a result. Frida became lonely (apparently due to her tired and busy mother) and developed an imaginary friend. Far too often the success of women is credited only to their fathers and the support of their mothers is rendered useless or invisible. Frida was close with her father according to some historical accounts and he did inspire her. It seems that there is a missed opportunity here, however, to credit the hard work, love, and support that Frida Kahlo's mother contributed to Frida and to her family if even in a word or two. It may have been Frida's mother who had an easel created for Frida when she was confined to bed, for example. I would like my child to grow up honoring strong women like Frida as well as the work of people who love them. That includes strong mothers like this one who undoubtedly suffered through watching her daughter endure pain and tragedy and still supported her creativity while raising six children. Sadly I will be returning this book and ordering one of the other books for children about the life of Frida Kahlo.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Roz Levine on April 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
"Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo was born in Mexico in 1907. This is the story of how she learned to paint, how painting saved her life, and why her paintings are like no one else's. Like Frida's art, it is a work of the imagination, but it is also true." So begins Jonah Winter's introductory, picture book biography. His simple, spare, poetic text brings this remarkable artist to life, and illuminates her lonely childhood, the polio that kept her bedridden for almost a year, and the almost fatal bus accident that left her crippled and in constant pain for the rest of her life. But through it all Frida's art kept her going. "Painting is like her imaginary friend. It is there whenever she wants it. It keeps her company. It keeps her from giving up hope." Ana Juan's bold and vibrant, Mexican folk-art style illustrations, rich in brilliant color and inhabited by expressive imaginary creatures and Kahlo-like touches, complement the text beautifully. Together word and art paint a vivid and inspiring portrait of a courageous and resilient artist with a unique style. "Her paintings are like nothing else. In museums, people still look at them and weep and sigh and smile. She turns her pain into something beautiful. It is like a miracle." Perfect for youngsters 6-10, Frida includes both Author's and Artist's notes at the end to explain and enhance the brief story. This is a fascinating and engaging biography that is sure to peak the interest and whet the appetite of art lovers young and old.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J.P. on May 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Jonah Winters tells quite brilliantly, and simplistically, the truth about Frida Khalo's life and art. Ana Juan equally talented, compliments his text with sometimes whimsical, often times playful, and always thought provoking eye candy illustrations. After dancing through the words and images, you'll get to the last page and say "Ole!"
What will you see if you could peer inside? The title page: a full page sun, who's benevolent gaze is warm but made curious by a black bird that sits across it's brow, mimicking the thick dark eyebrows that Frida had in real life. Later in the book, Frida playing with zany creatures that clearly wouldn't live in any adult's world, but seem perfectly suited for play in the garden or in the imagination. After her accident, she dances on clouds set against a magenta sky while her friends keep her company in her hospital studio. Frida is grown now, silver bangles adorn her arms while a bit of mystery and pain, adorn her canvases. Viva Frida!
While I do agree with almost everything Roz Levine wrote in her critique of this book, I beg to differ on the appropriate age this book is for - it's for everyone who loves Kahlo's work, Mexican Art, or a good story being told. Buy this book for your child, your artist friend who lives out of town, your sister, or anyone who just appreciates magical things...I highly recommend this book for review to professional Illustrators working in the same field. This book is also a wonderful example of an excellent marriage between writer and illustrator...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In this strange, beautiful book, Jonah Winter's prose is as gentle and reverent as a prayer, and Ana Juan's remarkable illustrations levitate above the page. To distill the essence of Frida Kahlo's complicated life in so few words--and for children no less--might seem an impossible task, but the author and illustrator succeed wonderfully. They give Frida vitality when she is nearest to death; they give her imaginative freedom and wild exuberance when she is physically shackled by pain. At first, I was worried about the impact of the double tragedy (her polio and her subsequent injury in a terrible bus accident) on a young reader/listener... doesn't the narrative make its point of imaginative triumph over terrible physical disability through just one of these awful events? But I've come to think that including both was the right choice. It's the truth; it captures the fullness of Frida's life and the enormity of the challenges she faced; and it quietly attests to something even children can appreciate: that one tragedy doesn't innoculate any of us from future ones, and that we all must find creative ways to sustain and reinvent ourselves in the face of life's vicissitudes. The illustration of Frida entangled in thorns, cited by several reviewers, is truly haunting. While the moon weeps nearby, we see Frida supported by the thorn bush yet tortured by it, which perfectly captures the relationship between her art and her pain. Significantly, her sleeping face is calm, and we sense that her imagination has already spirited her away to the rapture of her paintings.
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