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Gertrude is Gertrude is Gertrude is Gertrude Hardcover – February 10, 2009


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Gertrude is Gertrude is Gertrude is Gertrude + To Do: A Book of Alphabets and Birthdays (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 390L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (February 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 141694088X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416940883
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 10.9 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #985,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5 Up—Winter has cleverly constructed the briefest of introductions to the adult life of Gertrude Stein and the salon era during which she wrote. Using mimicry, he demonstrates the repetitive, rambling, nonsensical style that made the eccentric writer famous: "A sentence can be whatever, if you're Gertrude. You don't have to make sense (if you're Gertrude). You can write 'rose is a rose is a rose is a rose' if you're Gertrude." He describes her relationship with Alice B. Toklas: "Gertrude does the talking and laughing. And Alice makes sure that Gertrude is happy." Words and illustrations simulate the salons of the early 20th century where artists, writers, thinkers—Picasso, Matisse, and Hemingway are featured here—gathered to discuss the arts and culture of the day. The text is written in a variety of font sizes. Bright acrylic illustrations, set against backgrounds of orange, turquoise, rose, yellow, and ochre, meld perfectly with the text. Brown's avant-garde folk-style paintings include people with caricature faces and representations of "modern" paintings ("All art is modern when it's being made"). A short author's note offers a bit of information about Stein. Alas, due to its sophisticated topic, this creative, artistic piece will appeal to a limited audience.—Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
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From Booklist

Gertrude Stein holds court when Picasso, Matisse, Hemingway, and lots of other artists and writers visit. Alice B. Toklas serves tea.Told in verse, with a wink to Stein’s own looping, playful, repetitive narrative style, this ebullient picture-book view of these famous figures becomes something of a dreamy impression. The Rockwell typeface, dancing across the page in ever-changing variations of boldness and size; the almost post-impressionistic acrylic paintings, brash and welcoming all at once; and the evocative bounce of the words all combine to echo the originality of Gertrude Stein’s vision, in a palpable way. Winter’s text creates an infectious, rhythmic web, while Brown’s pictures offer nods to the particular styles of the artists on display. The call for an impressionistic picture-book biography of Gertrude Stein may be limited, but this title’s joyful spirit and the ease with which it reads aloud will help it find a much broader audience. Grades 2-4. --Thom Barthelmess

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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It's one of their favorites.
C. McGuire
As Gertrude Stein might say, A picture book is a picture book is a picture book is a picture book.
Debnance at Readerbuzz
And what an entertaining and fun introduction for both children and adults.
Paris fan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Debnance at Readerbuzz on March 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Go ahead and call it a children's picture book, but I think you are wrong; the young children I read this book to looked at me in bewilderment.

It looks like a picture book. It reads like a picture book. But reading it to young children is like asking junior high students to read Great Expectations; it can be read, but it should be saved for those old enough to really appreciate it.

I, for one, loved it. It would probably be among my top picks for best nonfiction picture book for this year. It's bright and colorful. The text mimics the style of the subject, poet Gertrude Stein. It's funny. As Gertrude Stein might say, A picture book is a picture book is a picture book is a picture book. But sometimes it's not.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Paris fan on January 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
At last a children's picture book devoted to Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas! And what an entertaining and fun introduction for both children and adults. The text reflects Gertrude's repetitive, terse style with a touch of humor which I think would also have made her laugh. The events and places chosen for the story accurately reflect aspects of GertrudeandAlice's life together ---whether their parties in Paris (with Picasso, Matisse and Hemingway), their picnics in the countryside, Alice's typing of Gertrude's manuscripts or jaunts with their poodle Basket. The brightly colored illustrations are reminiscent of the vibrant colors in the paintings that hung in their apartment in Paris and are creatively mingled with the text which is presented in small and large fonts. A wonderful book that children and adults will want to browse through over and over again to become a part of the lives of this remarkable couple!

Two small errors in the book--Basket their poodle was white not black and in the biographical note about Stein, the year of her birth is incorrect---should be 1874 not 1872. (Maybe these can be fixed in future editions!)
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. McGuire on March 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I'm surprised that the specs for this book state ages 9-12.

Both of my daughters, ages 2.5 and 5.5 ***love*** this book! It's one of their favorites.

It's written in very unusual style for a child's book -- apparently it's written the way Gertrude wrote.

Alice is also written a central part of her life, and I'm glad they aren't brushing her under the rug.

The illustrations are fantastic, very beautiful, and with a different palette on each page.

The text is all over the place, with font size changing to indicate emphasis, and not all lined up on a horizontal plane -- sometimes it's wavy or stacked.

Highly recommend this book for people who want to read outside the usual stack.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dudley on June 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My daughter loves this book, and it has been a bedtime story staple from about 18 months. The paintings and quasi-Steinian prosody she found instantly compelling, and they remain so. Many will be tempted by its emulation of high modernist motifs and its apparent ability to familiarize very young children with cultural icons, many more will just find it fun. And if your kid gets to it first, they will decide based on whatever criteria they use. The latter will be less fussy than my own, since I am a bit of a scholar of Stein. For anyone considering this book, though, you might equally consider Stein's own books for children, THE WORLD IS ROUND and TO DO: A BOOK OF ALPHABETS. They have all the elements of this one, but without suffering from a few things that for me are important, and I thought worth mentioning.

I always skip several lines of text when reading this book to my daughter. More than several. Let's call it "quite a few." And here is why.

First, there is consistent misuse of the word modern. A line like "All art is modern when it is being made" is patently bogus usage. Modern refers to the historical/aesthetic period Stein represents, and it is not at all the same thing as saying "contemporary." One of Stein's most important and frequently read texts, "Composition as Explanation," is all about how and why this is so. It is also a funny, rhythmic, dynamic and accessible (in terms of its vocabulary) text, so how the authors of this children's book missed or misread it, I have to wonder. Even an attentive reading of The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas should preclude this mistake.

There is needless reference to art collecting as commodity exchange. In fact, it is never mentioned that Stein collected art, but children are invited to buy paintings. Why?
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By C. Stanford on January 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This child's book is written in Gertrude Stein's style of writing. Whimsical and also introduces children to famous artists who were part of Stein's circle, e.g. Picasso, Matisse. The issue of the relationship between Stein and Alice B. Toklas is subtly suggested.
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