Dancing Through Fields of Color: The Story of Helen Frankenthaler

illus. by Aimée Sicuro. 40p. bibliog. chron. notes. photos. reprods. Abrams. Mar. 2019. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781419734106.
Gr 2–5—A prominent abstract expressionist whose career spanned six decades but who is not as well known as her male contemporaries today, Helen Frankenthaler loved color and celebrated it through an artistic style that came to be known as "soak-stain painting." In this picture book biography, Frankenthaler's early life and career are recounted in language that is every bit as vibrant as the illustrations that recall her paintings. Students with a creative bent will relish reading about Frankenthaler's difficulty conforming to the expectations of her art teachers and, later, those of the art world at large. Then, the story recalls her childhood vacations to the mountains and seaside to demonstrate the techniques Frankenthaler developed for creating paintings as boundless as those natural phenomena. Sicuro's bold illustrations are a wonderful match for a biography on an abstract artist; the saturated colors, thick lines, and rounded shapes work well with Brown's descriptive text to immerse readers in Frankenthaler's world. Two pages of back matter include a more formalized biography of Frankenthaler and examples of her paintings.
VERDICT A pitch-perfect expression of a little-known artist in text and illustration alike, this is a top-notch example of the picture book biography.

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