Thursday, July 28, 2016

Painting Pepette by Linda Ravin Lodding

Painting Pepette 
by Linda Ravin Lodding
Illustrated by Claire Fletcher
Published June 2016
Little Bee Books
Fiction-Picture book
40 pages
F&G copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Join one little girl named Josette as she searches 1920s Paris to find the best artist to paint a portrait of her stuffed-animal rabbit, Pepette.
After seeing all the fine portraits of her family in her house in Paris, Josette decides that her stuffed-animal rabbit Pepette needs a portrait of her own. The two of them set off for Montmartre, the art center of 1920s Paris, to seek out an artist to paint Pepette’s portrait. They encounter Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Marc Chagall, and Henri Matisse, who all try their hand at capturing the rabbit.
Picasso gives Pepette two noses and three ears—which doesn’t sit well with Josette. Dalí gives Pepette very droopy eyes—so Josette says "no thank you" and moves on. Chagall paints Pepette flying through the clouds. Josette points out that Pepette doesn’t fly and is afraid of heights—so they decide to keep going through the square. When they meet Matisse, he paints Pepette pink, with lots of colorful dots and splashes covering the canvas. It’s a beautiful piece of art, but it’s not Pepette.
Giving up, Josette and Pepette make their way home. Josette is upset that no one was able to no one was able to capture the true essence of Pepette. Who could capture her soft gray ears, her heart-shaped nose, and all her wonderfulness? And then it comes to her—she, Josette, is the perfect person to do this.

My Thoughts
This story of Josette trying to get just the right portrait of her beloved stuffed bunny Pepette is very endearing. She considers him part of the family, deserving of his own family portrait. I know many children who have a special stuffed animal or toy that can relate to her feelings. 
I thought the concept of different famous artists trying to create a portrait in their signature styles was very clever. Imagine walking around Paris and having Matisse paint a picture for you! It would help young readers if an adult could show them the work of these artists so they can see the connections. A brief authors note at the back discusses the artists and the Parisian quarter of Montmartre.

The illustrations by Claire Fletcher are wonderful. Water colors and looser lines create light scenes that make one feel like they are walking in Paris in the springtime. 
After reading Painting Pepette, I can imagine children wanting to create paintings of their own special objects. It would be fun to experiment with different styles and displaying the artwork in a "gallery". 
I would recommend Painting Pepette for grades k-4.
Image from Amazon-

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  1. Can't wait to get my hands on this book. Thanks for the thoughtful review and featuring this masterpiece!