The Two Fridas

Schiffer Kids. Feb. 2021. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780764361166.
Gr 1-3–In her diary, renowned artist Frida Kahlo recalled dancing and sharing her problems with an imaginary twin she met as a child by diving through a door drawn in a foggy bedroom window. Using a translation of her short entry as inspiration, Italian artist Folì sends a skinny child from a drab everyday room into a wildly exuberant landscape of monkeys, skulls, and jagged bursts of color to be welcomed by a smiling figure composed of leaves and flowers—and then back to a gray world lit up by flashes of magical detail, culminating in a final view of the grown Kahlo in her studio, surrounded by unfinished self-portraits (including a partial glimpse of the titular painting). Despite an uncredited afterword that offers a quick biographical and critical overview, younger readers are more likely to find their interest in Kahlo’s life and art kindled by Anthony Browne’s Little Frida, which recasts the same autobiographical fragment into an emotionally richer, more contextualized experience.
VERDICT Mysterious and evocative, but best considered as a showcase for Folì rather than for Kahlo.

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