The stories, paintings and early twentieth-century Paris of Gertrude Stein and her partner, Alice B. Toklas, come to life in this charming and innovative picture book biography, told in clever second-person free verse. Here's an insider's tour of the fascinating lives of Gertrude Stein and her partner, Alice B. Toklas, amusingly addressed directly to the reader (“The next time you go to Paris ...”). It explores the couple's art collection, their famous writer and artist friends and even their dog, Basket. It also describes how Gertrude's book The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas was not about Alice, but was more about Gertrude herself! A celebration of creativity and the creative process, this original and very readable picture book biography champions two women who dared to live unconventional lives. In playful free verse, author Evie Robillard offers a unique introduction to one of the most influential figures of twentieth-century art and literature. It includes twelve child-friendly quotations from Stein's work, such as: “It takes a lot of time to be a genius, you have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing.” Illustrator Rachel Katstaller's fun yet detailed art delightfully evokes the time and place of the text. Touching on literature, history, writing and the visual arts, this biography offers loads of direct curriculum applications. Back matter includes a time line, “snapshots,” sources and an author's note with further background.
Evie Robillard is a former children's librarian and writing teacher. She writes for both adults and children. She's the mother of two grown sons and makes her home in Madison, Wisconsin.
This accessible, kid-sized portrayal of Stein and Toklas' famous relationship is a charmer.
- Kirkus Reviews, starred review
... this introduction to the figure and her partner charms.
- Publishers Weekly
Together, the poems and the short pieces combine to tell a larger story about this influential literary figure.
... this delightful book presents their charmed life in Paris as a model of creativity, neatly captured by Katstaller's colored pencil sketches and Robillard's attention to the playful soundscapes in Stein's poetry.
- New York Times
... what emanates from these pages, through the chatty, accessible verse and the buoyant artwork, is a sense of the integrity that comes with a well-observed and well-lived life.
- Wall Street Journal
A book that is rich in strong personalities and perspectives on art. Robillard details the life of Stein and Toklas in engaging and age-appropriate ways.
- School Library Journal