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Pocket Full of Colors: The Magical World of Mary Blair, Disney Artist Extraordinaire Hardcover – August 29, 2017
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*STARRED REVIEW* "Sunshine radiates past corners and mermaids swim off the page, while rainbow wisps stream from Mary’s paintbrush and trail after her fingers.... The whimsical illustrations will enamor young readers while older kids will learn about a Disney legend as well as new words, such as russet or viridian. An independent, enthusiastic role model, Mary will teach young readers how to value what makes them special and advocate for their talents." (Booklist, July 2017, starred review)
"Barrager's hues...are energetic.... A bright homage to Blair's bold work." (Kirkus Reviews, June 2017)
"Walt Disney Studios were pretty solidly a man’s world when Mary Blair and her passionate love of zingy color reported to work in 1940 . . . [K]ids and their adult readers…will be rewarded with a story of a woman worth knowing, and they will enjoy the ’60s mod colorscape and collage-like retro design that echos Blair’s 'Small World' achievement." (BCCB July/August 2017)
"This picture book biography of Mary Blair reveals a woman who thought outside the box and beyond the “rules” of art.... Budding artists will enjoy learning about Blair and her persistence in obeying her instincts and creating art that pleased her." (School Library Journal July 2017)
"The aesthetic of artist Mary Blair has had an outsize impact on the children’s book world, and now her life story gets its own book.... Barrager (Uni the Unicorn) laces her vibrant images with visual references to Blair’s memorable work.... An effervescent tribute that doesn’t sugarcoat Blair’s path to success." (Publishers Weekly, July 2017)
"Barrager's digital illustrations employ a kaleidoscopic, Fauvist palette and intense patterns in a retro aesthetic that reflects the time of Disney's golden age. Guglielmo and Tourville's text uses deliciously precise color names.... This is a love letter to the color wheel and a prismatic snapshot of a commerical artist's singular style, with a touch of feminism as this woman's vivacious creativity couldn't be dulled by "men in charge," with their "black lines and strict rules."" (The Horn Book Magazine, September/October 2017)
About the Author
Amy Guglielmo lives a life in pictures. In addition to writing about art, artists, and makers, she is a painter, teacher, and supporter of arts education for children of all ages. Amy once created a Barbie house, equipped with a working elevator, and she is an A-plus hugger. She lives with her husband on the Adirondack coast of Lake Champlain. You can visit Amy online at AmyGuglielmo.com.
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They picked the perfect illustrator to honor Mary Blair. Brigette Barrager is another artist with vibrant colors flowing from her pens and brushes. This provides an interesting look at early Disney behind the scenes and a woman in a business of men who managed to persevere and succeed on her own terms. And many, many people have seen her work whether they realize it or not. The vocabulary is excellent, and will likely prompt more than one person to go hunting for the color that matches a certain word. All around, a splendid picture book biography.
In a time before the women's rights movement, Mary Blair did it all. She worked in a male-dominated field but managed to hold her own. Not only did she help with the designing of many iconic Disney films, she also illustrated several children's books that are still being sold today. Even when her work wasn't appreciated, she remained true to her style and is now credited with changing Disney to the company we know and love today.
Without being too complicated for children to understand, Pocket Full of Colors did an amazing job telling Mary Blair's story. I loved the illustrations, the factual yet fun story, and the beautiful writing. I chose to give the book 4 stars because it was amazingly well done and I enjoyed it completely.