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A Masterpiece for Bess    by Lara Bergen & Judith H. Clarke order for
Masterpiece for Bess
by Lara Bergen
Order:  USA  Can
RH/Disney, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by J. A. Kaszuba Locke

The Pixie Hollow Never fairies gathered - 'Like honeybees in a hive, wing to wing' - to admire the portrait of Tinker Bell painted by Bess. Their admiring oohs and aahs reached Bess's ears, except of course for the usual skeptical Vidia who voiced, 'Personally, I don't see what the fuss is for ... Honestly, my little darlings, what's so great about a fairy standing still?'

Bess headed back to her studio 'in an old wooden tangerine crate' she found washed up on the beach. It was located in the 'sunniest, most peaceful corner of Pixie Hollow'. Bess's portrait of Tink was so popular that the art-talent fairy was soon overwhelmed with requests to paint the portraits of other fairies and sparrow men - fifteen by midday with more to come! Needing more paint, Bess collected fruits to make the colors. She filled her basket so full that she was unable to fly, and had to walk.

Back in her studio, Bess put the fruit in a coconut shell, and stomped on the delicacies to make her paint. Sticky sap clung to her clothes, hair, and wings. Attempting to wash the sap off her body, Bess fell into the stream. Fortunately water-talent fairies came to her rescue, and, of course, wanted their portraits painted too! Bess became really troubled when asked to make changes in some finished portraits, such as decreasing the size of Rosetta's nose. She was so preoccupied by all the requests that she found no time to paint in the manner that she loved.

Lara Bergen's tale of Bess's turmoil teaches about friendship and taking time to make your own choices. The Disney artists' illustrations are, as always, spectacular, keeping within the mood of the story - with expressive faces, glittering, translucent wings, and refined colors.

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