Mimis Dada Catifesto

48p. 978-0-54712-681-4.
Gr 1-4 Mimi, an artistic alley cat living in early-20th-century Zurich, hopes to be taken in by an artistic human. When she sees an absurd performance by "Mr. Dada," she knows she has found her match. However, Mimi must try many Dadaist approaches (sound poems, ready-made art displays, and randomly generated poetry) before the man recognizes her as a kindred spirit. Told in Mimi's voice, this playful story declares that "art can be anything." A dapper cockroach couple provide commentary and explanations, and Mimi's pigeon friend offers wry humor. The cat's quest for Mr. Dada's affection provides the story arc and structure, an important counterpoint to the nonsensical experimentation in the text and the art. Brightly colored mixed-media collage illustrations set the scene. Period news and catalog clippings juxtaposed with zany layouts that scramble art give a feel for how Dada takes the mundane and turns it on its head. Readers are invited to participate: "Mimi says, Now perform a sound poem./Yes, you./Did I hear a burp?/Thank you-that was a good poem." A detailed endnote and suggested reading/listening list encourage future exploration of the Dadaist movement. Like Dadaism itself, this book will probably inspire a wide range of responses from readers, from confusion to disdain to delight. Perfect for art-museum gift shops and art education, and an interesting addition for large general collections."Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL" Copyright 2010 Media Source Inc.
Mimi, a stray cat, intends to make her home with Mr. Dada, an artist who believes " anything!" But he isn't convinced that Mimi is the right pet for him ("Do I look like the kind of man to coo 'Kitty, Kitty'?") until she demonstrates her Dadaist artistry by balancing a fish on her head. Mixed-media illustrations are fittingly random and whimsical. Reading list, websites.
Introducing the reader to Dada through Mimi’s eyes is a kid-friendly approach to a sophisticated concept. The author’s note adds to understanding, by giving examples of Dada performances and artwork. The energy, quick pacing, and moments both touching and humorous keep the reader engaged. In addition to depicting Mimi’s story, Shelley Jackson’s artwork provides an excellent example of the art movement that it covers. There is so much to look at on every page! Jackson’s collages incorporate musical scores, newsprint, dictionary entries, and photographs—serving as a constant visual echo of Dada’s playful and inclusive sensibility.

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