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I Am Marc Chagall    by Bimba Landmann order for
I Am Marc Chagall
by Bimba Landmann
Order:  USA  Can
Eerdmans, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

No one could have predicted that Marc Chagall would have become a famous French painter, given his poor Russian-Jewish background. In this unique picture book, writer/artist Bimba Landmann tells us how this happened, as well as the rest of Marc Chagall's life story.

It's written in the first person from Chagall's perspective - the reader is first introduced to this important painter when he was still a young boy growing up in a small farming village in Russia. The narrator chronicles his life with exquisite detail, conjuring up the sights, smells and sounds of his native home. Chagall recognizes his desire to become an artist early on, and the reader learns all of the obstacles he had to overcome before his dream became a reality, and his emotional connection to that dream: 'Painting is as necessary as bread. It is my window so I can fly to another world.'

Landmann's mixed-media illustrations are three-dimensional and collage-like, presumably to represent Chagall's own style. Landmann's eyecatching drawings are full of subtle details, and are a little chaotic though vibrant. I Am Marc Chagall is a wonderful introduction to the background of a significant painter, and adults can learn something from the book too. Plus, it contains an underlying lesson: follow your dreams and stay true to yourself, no matter what obstacles are thrown in your path.

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