Customer Reviews: Frida (English Language Edition)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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on October 26, 2011
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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on April 14, 2002
"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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on May 17, 2002
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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on February 8, 2005
I purchased this for my 3 year old daughter and she fell in love with it. Now that she's 4 she still regularly asks to hear this story. I would recommend this book as a great starting point for introducing art and artists to young children.
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on May 6, 2014
This is a great book about Frida. However, my daughter, who isn't bothered by anything scary or gory, asked me to stop reading this book to her because it upset her to see someone in so much pain. Just a heads up for those who might have super sensitive kids. I might bring it out again when she's a little older to see if she can enjoy it more.
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on February 28, 2003
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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on August 13, 2016
Great read aloud biography of a pioneer woman who impacted the art world greatly. While her complete biography is controversial, this text is appropriate and engaging for young listeners who may be motivated and inspired by her abstract and unique approach. I recommend this text as a classroom library piece.
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on March 9, 2015
The illustrations are amazing and though the subject matter is adult; her struggles with health and life; the prose is straightforward and appropriate to be shared with a child with adult care. My daughter loves the artist, Frida Kahlo and cannot wait to share this book when my granddaughter is older.
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on November 28, 2004
i like this book i am one of those "fridaholics" mentioned in another review. i have loved frida since i was in high school-which was about 7-8 years ago. i have many frida books, and i bought this one so i could share frida with my younger sister. i got the spanish lang one, but it is the same as the english one except that well, its in spanish, other than that it looks the same and everything. i like that it explains things about fridas life in a softer easier manner so children can understand the story and get the meaning of it without including gory details that are adults only. i like the dreamlike, gentle quality of the book and the beautiful pictures. i recommend this for anybody and everybody.
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on August 2, 2004
I picked "Frida" as part of a class assignment. My job was to write a lesson that would facilitate student understanding of this artist. What I liked most about this book was how tactfully her story was rendered. Having read the actual biography (for adults) I was pleased that most of the important information was left intact and treated sensitively.

I was also refreshed by the bold colors the illustrator used. She really did a wonderful job of capturing and maintaining the integrity of Kahlo's style in her own work. I thought this would be a great way of helping students to see just how unique her own work was.
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