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Paris in the Spring with Picasso    by Joan Yolleck & Marjorie Priceman order for
Paris in the Spring with Picasso
by Joan Yolleck
Order:  USA  Can
Schwartz & Wade, 2010 (2010)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In a Note at the beginning of this imaginative picture book, author Joan Yolleck tells us that the idea came to her while reading about 'the writer Gertrude Stein and her fascinating friends', as she imagined how they might have spent a spring day 'during a magical time in Paris.'

Yolleck (in the guise of a black cat) takes us right into Gertrude Stein's home at 27 rue de Fleurus, where she and her brother Leo prepare for their weekly soirée. Next we visit their friends that same morning. An encounter with an acrobat seeds a poem in Guillaume Apollinaire's mind, before his girlfriend Marie Laurencin joins him with her latest sketches. Writer Max Jacob lives in the same apartment as his dearest friend, Pablo Picasso, the famous painter. Pablo's model girlfriend Fernande shows up, after walking their dog Frika. Joined by Max, Apollinaire and Marie, they set off for the soirée. Gertrude's best friend, Alice B. Toklas, is already there.

The author challenges young readers to imagine Gertrude's party, asking 'Que t'imagine, my friend? What do you dream they will say?' She includes brief bios of Gertrude and her close friends at the back of the book. It is enhanced by Marjorie Priceman's excellent and exuberant illustrations, which take young readers into the colorful byways of Paris at its springtime brightest and best.

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