Isabella: Artist Extraordinaire

illus. by Mike Litwin. 32p. Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky. Jan. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781492672647.
PreS-K—Masterpieces of Western art are introduced to young children via the adventures of Isabella, a young girl who likes nothing better than to paint and draw in the comfort of her own home. Her mother and father attempt to engage her in a variety of activities, from horseback riding to ballet, and each suggestion conjures up a vision inspired by the work of a famous artist. Readers see echoes of Jacques-Louis David's Napoleon Crossing the Alps, Mary Cassatt's The Boating Party, and Edward Hopper's Nighthawks paintings, with Isabella and her family engaged in each scene, such as eating ice cream at the counter of a nighttime café similar to the one in the Hopper painting. Different fonts are used for key words to help readers make text-to-image connections. Back material includes reproductions of the original artworks: 10 paintings by American and European masters and one sculpture. The illustrations are bright and engaging, with styles changing on each spread to evoke art styles from pointillism to expressionism. Small children will enjoy spotting the mouse on each page and many children will remember the spunky purple-haired Isabella from her previous adventures. Most children will not understand the connections between the famous artwork and the illustrations without guidance.
VERDICT This is a good choice for libraries interested in expanding art themes for preschool and kindergarten age children.

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