By Jonah Winter, Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
Arthur A. Levine Books, $17.99, 48 pages
Jonah Winter, author of Frida, Dizzy, The Secret World of Hildegard, and The Fabulous Feud of Gilbert and Sullivan, has come out with his newest book. Just Behave, Pablo Picasso! has all the qualities of a top-notch children’s book – beautiful illustrations, a stimulating subject and an inspirational message. Kevin Hawkes’ acrylic illustrations are beautifully vivid and filled with enough detail to satisfy the most curious of children. Pablo Picasso literally bursts through the page as he creates new artistic styles. Emerging from the remnants of a landscape painting, the genius dons the crimson cape of a bullfighter in Spain or a Frenchman’s beret as he explores Paris.
Artistic terms such as “cubism,” “blue period” and “modern art” become accessible to very young learners. Most importantly, this book encourages children to pursue their passions, even if they, like Picasso, are ridiculed. The critics tell Picasso that his paintings are “terrible” because they don’t make sense. But Picasso argues that “the chief enemy of creativity is good sense!” I highly recommend this book to parents of young readers who also happen to be interested in art, or to small children who have strong wills and big dreams.
Reviewed by Emily Davis