Nov 14, 2011

Children's Tuesday: Louisa: The Life of Louisa May Alcott & Exhibit

(Amazon link)
     Louisa: The Life of Louisa May Alcott is a beautiful book written by award-winning author Yona Zeldis McDonough, illustrated by BYU illustration professor Bethanne Anderson (see previous post about Bethanne here).

     In September, the Springville Museum of Art held an exhibition of Bethanne's original illustrations from the book.
    One evening, just before the exhibit ended, I took Little A with me and met my friend Rachel at the museum (hi, Rachel!). There were copies of Louisa as part of the exhibit for patrons to look through while they enjoyed the artwork. Little A (15 mos at that time) happily carried a copy of the book around with her the whole time we were there. She even screamed in delight several times as she clutched the book in her tiny hands.
(See below for pictures of the exhibit -and of us!)
     This picture-book look at Louisa May Alcott gently traces her life from a happy, humble childhood to nursing soldiers in the Civil War to her later writing successes. Louisa mostly grew up in Massachusetts, in the company of her three sisters. The young Alcott girls spent Saturday nights in riotous pillow fights, acted out plays in homemade costumes and kept journals to record their thoughts—a pastime that would prove quite fruitful for Louisa. McDonough, appropriately for the audience, places the development of Louisa’s character over literary exegesis, and her words are harmoniously both accessible and expressive. Andersen’s swashes of gouache and pastels color the lush green fields and warm orange background that glows behind the text. Most intriguing, however, are the end notes, which include two early poems by Alcott and a traditional dessert recipe for New England Apple Slump. While too dense for the littlest of women (and men), middle-graders will be charmed by this first look at one of America’s most beloved authors.
(Picture book/biography. 8-12)

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