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Chasing Degas Hardcover – October 1, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Grade 3–5—Degas has painted the ballet students as they rehearse in the opera house many times, but today he has left with the wrong bag, and a young dancer must return his paints and recover her tutu before it is time for her performance that evening. She searches the streets of Paris for the artist and meets several other Impressionists along the way, and each one leads her closer to Degas. The inclusion of certain facts is awkward. For example, after telling the ballerina to look for Degas at the art shop, Renoir adds, "Did you know that the color black doesn't exist in nature?" Expressive pastel illustrations lend appeal. An author's note and color reproductions of the art that inspired the story will help young readers make connections, but this contrived tale may not hold children's attention.—Lisa Glasscock, Columbine Public Library, Littleton, CO END
After a rehearsal, a young Parisian ballerina realizes that her satchel, supposedly containing her tutu for that evening’s recital, now holds tubes of paints. She deduces that Monsieur Degas must have mistaken her bag for his, and she rushes off to find him. Along the way, she meets a series of artists, including Monet, Caillebotte, Renoir, and Cassatt, working at their easels. Although the settings suggest certain famous paintings that they are working on when the ballerina meets them, the style of the illustrations does not slavishly imitate that of the originals but takes off in its own fresh direction. The flow of lines and forms in the pictures gives them a fittingly musical sensibility. This picture book has a certain charm that makes it more than an introduction to these well-known artists. A discussion of impressionist painters is appended along with small reproductions of the six well-known paintings referenced in the story. Preschool-Grade 3. --Carolyn Phelan
Top customer reviews
Gustave Caillebotte was painting a street scene, but when she asked after Degas, he quickly referred her to Claude Monet who was up on a hotel balcony. He "painted a dot on his canvas" before answering. Yes, he had seen Monsieur Degas, but he was not anywhere in sight. He suggested she try the Moulin de la Galette. By the time she got there, the sun was shining and she saw him next to another painter. She pirouetted quickly across the floor, but he was gone. Monsieur Renoir directed her to Père Tanguy's shop. No Degas there, nor at Madame Cassatt's. Was she ever going to find Monsieur Degas and her new tutu in time for the recital?
This is a beautiful sweeping book that will introduce the young reader to the world of Impressionism. I loved the swirling little search for Degas through the streets of Paris. The idea and theme for the little ballerina to peer at other Impressionist's works as she searched was ingenious. My favorite was when she met Mary Cassatt's model who threw herself in a chair, a session that culminated in the painting, "Girl in the Blue Chair." There was only one little detail that threw me and that was a typographical error in the sentence, "Excuse me, but have you see Monsieur Degas." It certainly does not take away from the beauty of this book, but some people may object. In the back of the book are reproductions of the original paintings and a brief discussion on Impressionist painters.