Fabulous: A Portrait of Andy Warhol, written and illustrated by Bonnie Christensen, takes a look at artist Andy Warhol’s life from his sickly childhood in the 1930’s to his heyday of popularity in the 1960’s.
Starting with the iconic Campbell’s soup cans in the endpapers, Christensen uses her rich illustrations to tell the story of an artist that blurred the line between commercial and fine art in a way that had never been done before. She emphasizes details that children can relate to, such as being bullied at school. Warhol was very sick as a child with a disease sometimes called “Saint Vitus’s dance,” which left his skin pale and blotchy. From those humble beginnings he managed to become rich and famous.
For those interested in more details, Christensen includes an extensive author’s note and Time Line in the back. There she reveals some of the grimmer details, for example the attack on his life in 1968.
Fabulous: A Portrait of Andy Warhol works at a number of different levels. In addition to being an excellent resource for a report on Andy Warhol, it could also be used in art class to accompany Andy Warhol-derived projects. Reading the book might comfort children who are feeling a bit out of sync with their peers, and let them know that it is still possible to be a success as an adult.
Frankly, I enjoy reading children’s picture book biographies because it is a quick way to get an overview of a famous person’s life and the authors always seem to find a new, fresh way to present the material. In this case, Christensen has done a lovely job of distilling the facts to their essence.
Reading level: Ages 6-9
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (May 24, 2011)
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