Posted tagged ‘Biography’

A PORTRAIT IN POEMS: The Storied Life of GERTRUDE STEIN & ALICE B. TOKLAS

April 29, 2021

A Portrait in Poems: The Storied Life of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas written by Evie Robillard and illustrated by Rachel Katstaller. Kids Can Press, 2020.

In order to give this book a review it deserves, I’m posting a review from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Cooperative Children’s Book Center CCBC Choices 2021.

“A pitch-perfect picture book about Gertrude Stein’s life in Paris focuses on her art collection, her writing, her famous Salon, and her relationship with Alice B. Toklas. Not a word is wasted in this engaging, masterful account. Wisconsin author Robillard’s well-rounded portrait of Stein (and Toklas, too) includes just the right excerpts from Stein’s writing to give readers a sense of her singular style, her wit, her Steiny-ness. The gouache and colored pencil illustrations flawlessly echo the tone of the poems that comprise the text—both playful and profound, rather like Stein and Toklas themselves. They also extend the sense of place that was so important to Stein and her kindred spirits: Paris, specifically 27 rue de Fleurus “…a place that was once filled with paintings— / bright, bold, wild, impossible paintings. / And in that place lived a woman named Gertrude Stein / and her brother Leo. / And later on, her partner, Alice.” (Ages 5-9)” (CCBC Choices 2021, p. 21, PDF File)

Choices is a list of books published in the previous year and recommended for their excellence by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center librarians.

I love this book, and no one can review it better than the librarians at the CCBC!

The Story Behind the Story

March 5, 2015

A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh stories have always been a big hit in our home. When my daughter was young, one of her favorite stuffed animals was Pooh Bear. As an adult, she still has a soft place in her heart for Pooh and his stories.

BETH & BRIAN - THE BIG DAY - 00780

At her wedding, guests were seated at tables that displayed quotes from A. A. Milne’s books.

BETH & BRIAN - THE BIG DAY - 00858

At the dessert table, Tigger had his say.

 unnamed (1)

unnamed (3)

My daughter continues to collect Pooh items.

IMG_4625

IMG_4626

On a recent visit to the New York Public Library, she was able to see Christopher Robin’s treasures. She was ecstatic.

So when I found a newly published book about Winnie-the-Pooh, I knew I had to get it for my daughter’s collection.

photowiinniebook

Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh written by Sally M. Walker and illustrated by Jonathan D. Voss is a heartwarming story about a soldier, a bear cub, and how that cub became famous. It’s the story behind the story.

Harry Colebourn, a soldier in training during World War I, saw a man selling an orphaned bear cub at a train station. As an army veterinarian, Harry knew he could take care of her so he gave the man the money and named her Winnipeg after his company’s hometown in Canada.  “Winnie” became the company’s mascot. When Harry was shipped overseas to England, he took Winnie with him. After he was given orders to care for wounded horses on the battlefield in France, Harry knew it was too dangerous to take Winnie so he contacted the London Zoo. They happily gave Winnie a home with the other cubs in a new area built just for bears. After the war ended and it was time for Harry to return home, he realized Winnie belonged at the zoo and not with him. They sadly parted. Winnie was a gentle and well-loved bear. Youngsters rode on her back and fed her milk. One of Winnie’s friends was a boy named Christopher Robin. He was so fascinated by her, he changed his stuffed bear’s name to Winnie-the-Pooh. Christopher Robin’s father, A. A. Milne, made up stories about Winnie and Christopher. Those stories were turned into books we all know and love.

Voss’s realistic illustrations are done in muted tones. They depict army life and comical scenes with Winnie that add to the warmth of Walker’s story. There is back matter that includes an author’s note providing additional biographical information about Harry Colebourn, Winnie, and A. A. Milne’s books. If you like interesting end pages, this book has a treat for you. There are pictures of Harry Colebourn, Winnie, A. A. Milne with Christopher Robin holding Winnie-the-Pooh, and more. Beneath each picture is an explanatory caption.

That’s the story behind the story. If you’re a Winnie-the-Pooh enthusiast, I recommend this book.


%d bloggers like this: