Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Gertrude Stein for kids!

Once a university professor announced to our class that Gertrude Stein wrote The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, a book about an imaginary person. My friend John and I were completely horrified. I took for granted that Stein was widely known as a writer, Toklas as her partner and supporter in creative endeavors, and both as associates of such artistic greats as Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway and the like. Although the prof. meant it innocently enough, we were very disturbed by the invisibility of this important couple. Geez.

So, I was excited to see Gertrude is Gertrude is Gertrude is Gertrude written by Johah Winter and illustrated by Calef Brown. Intentionally written in a style suggestive of Stein, with bold and colorful art done in acrylics, this is a somewhat odd and pleasing little book. My favorite parts include Basket the "popular poodle," the car named Auntie, and the quiet cow that ends the book. According to the publisher, this book is targeted to 4 to 8 year olds, but it seems to me that it would be better enjoyed by elementary age kids who are learning about art and creative writing.

Even if you don't normally read picture books, you should check out this loving tribute to Stein, Toklas and their society. Then tell me what you think!

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Guinan 1990?-2009

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