Little Frida: A Story of Frida Kahlo

Candlewick. Oct. 2019. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781536209334.
K-Gr 3–Little Frida, a round-headed girl of six with a bowl cut, expressive brown eyes, and a thin unibrow, describes falling ill with polio and feeling different from her peers. When she draws a door in the condensation on her bedroom window, it leads her into the world of her imagination, which is where the majority of the book takes place. There she meets a girl, her mirror image, who becomes her friend, muse, and confidant for life. While maintaining his own style, Browne artfully captures the essence of Kahlo’s work in each illustration, with nods to her distinctive landscapes, clothing, and animal motifs. The story ends with the child back at home, with a dawning interest in art. The book is certainly more story than biography, as it contains only a snapshot of Kahlo’s childhood, and no bibliography or extended reading. An author’s note includes a reference to Kahlo’s diary in which she describes meeting an imaginary friend.
VERDICT This abstract adventure with lush illustrations will engage readers, and perhaps create new devotees of the artist. A suggested purchase for libraries with room for another Kahlo-inspired picture book.

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