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MY ART, MY WORLD by Rita Winkler Kirkus Star


by Rita Winkler with Mark Winkler and Helen Winkler ; illustrated by Rita Winkler & Leon Balaban

Pub Date: Oct. 19th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-77260-214-2
Publisher: Second Story Press

A woman illustrates her daily life with painting and collage.

Winkler introduces herself to readers by her first name, Rita, and a double visual: A painted self-portrait and a photograph of herself holding it. “Do you think it looks like me?” she asks. This painting happens to be abstract, but as the narrative progresses, Winkler’s artistic styles display a sophisticated level of variety. A sun and moon form opposite halves of the same sphere; a lake features realistic composition with textured brush strokes; a glimmering winter landscape shows hillsides with stark trees, soft snowflakes, and a yellow-pink sky. Cut paper forms the blocks of a big city with sharp angles and lines. Winkler has Down syndrome, unmentioned by the text and art but noted on the back cover. Her handwritten words “I’m Rita” show up twice; her handwriting also appears in a spirited note she leaves by the phone to discourage “pesky telemarketers”: “we are not home Leve us olaone Thank You.” Winkler’s humor shines through in a speculation that perhaps some fish she sees while at her cashier’s job in a coffee house—fish carried by a customer in a baggie—might come from the same lake Winkler visits and might recognize her from there. For its art enthusiasm and stimulating variation of visual style, pair this with Angela Johnson and E.B. Lewis’ Lily Brown’s Paintings (2007).

For all art bookshelves.

(bio, websites) (Picture book/memoir. 3-9)