A reverent, felicitous, and accessible introduction to one of the world’s most subversive artists.


An Italian author/illustrator pays homage to Banksy, the world-famous, anonymous street artist.

Readers see Banksy on the book’s first spread, saying in a plainspoken, first-person narration, “Nobody knows who I really am, and that way, I stay out of trouble.” All humans in the book, including Banksy, are depicted in an offbeat, stylized cartoon manner, with stick arms and legs and oversized, bulging eyes; they are all black forms with paper-white faces on uncluttered, solid white backgrounds. Banksy hides in hooded black clothing, only eyes and a nose showing, describing artistic themes (anti-war, political, environmental); media (spray paint and stencils, sculpture); style (graffiti); and subjects (rats, soldiers, the Mona Lisa). Banksy also tells readers about various exhibitions and artistic projects—including the more-well-known ones (the painting that self-destructed in a shredder after purchase); the lesser-known ones (filling a meat truck with stuffed animals); and the exceptionally elaborate ones (Dismaland)—and theories about who Banksy is. (“There are lots of different theories. Some of them…pretty wild!”) Banksy speaks with a wry sense of humor and, just as the title indicates, without apology (“I do it without permission and I’m not sorry”), also emphasizing that art should be for everyone, not just the rich: “I don’t really like selling my work for lots of money.” Appended is more information about Banksy and a reproduction of Girl With Balloon. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.46-by-16.92-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

A reverent, felicitous, and accessible introduction to one of the world’s most subversive artists. (Informational picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: April 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-83866-260-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Phaidon

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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A worthy introduction to this master artist.


Claude Monet spends an early morning in his “studio boat,” painting scenes of the Seine.

Rosenstock and GrandPré, who’ve amply demonstrated their ability to distill an artist’s work into a rich essence for young readers with biographies of Kandinsky, Van Gogh, and Chagall, now describe an imagined morning in the life of Monet, a founding impressionist. Here, the painter, now rich and famous, sets off to work at 3:30 a.m. In her respectful narrative, the writer’s word choice is precise and revealing. Monet “clambers aboard” his boat and counts his canvases in French: “un, deux, trois, quatre.” Rosenstock describes his working process, “painting the river’s colors, and the air around the colors,” and she weaves in some historical background. GrandPré’s illustrations, painted with acrylics, support and enhance the text. Readers see an older White man with a lush white beard and the “broad belly” and “sturdy legs” of the text. Toward the end, one particularly appealing spread shows Monet’s tools—the canvas, the palette, the brushes—and the artist, satisfied with his morning’s work. The colors are astonishing: from the bright aquamarine of the cover, the faintly violet dawn, the pinks, yellows, and oranges of the sunlight, and the tea-colored interiors. Always, there are brush strokes of other colors visible. An informative author’s note extends the artist’s biography, but the picture of his life painted in this single encounter is sufficient. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 63% of actual size.)

A worthy introduction to this master artist. (sources, acknowledgments) (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-70817-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments.


The junior senator from California introduces family and friends as everyday superheroes.

The endpapers are covered with cascades of, mostly, early childhood snapshots (“This is me contemplating the future”—caregivers of toddlers will recognize that abstracted look). In between, Harris introduces heroes in her life who have shaped her character: her mom and dad, whose superpowers were, respectively, to make her feel special and brave; an older neighbor known for her kindness; grandparents in India and Jamaica who “[stood] up for what’s right” (albeit in unspecified ways); other relatives and a teacher who opened her awareness to a wider world; and finally iconic figures such as Thurgood Marshall and Constance Baker Motley who “protected people by using the power of words and ideas” and whose examples inspired her to become a lawyer. “Heroes are…YOU!” she concludes, closing with a bulleted Hero Code and a timeline of her legal and political career that ends with her 2017 swearing-in as senator. In group scenes, some of the figures in the bright, simplistic digital illustrations have Asian features, some are in wheelchairs, nearly all are people of color. Almost all are smiling or grinning. Roe provides everyone identified as a role model with a cape and poses the author, who is seen at different ages wearing an identifying heart pin or decoration, next to each.

Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments. (Picture book/memoir. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-984837-49-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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