by Rachel Rodriguez; illustrated by Julie Paschkis
You went to the exhibit, you bought the poster. Maybe you saw the biopic on PBS or have read other biographies about her.
This one's better.
Georgia O'Keeffe changed the way we look at contemporary art; not just American art or women artists. We expect what we see to be larger than life but intimate, to reveal what we overlook every day, but what cannot be captured on film; she came down firmly on the side of timeless images versus what's merely frozen in time, like a snapshot.
So it makes sense that a children's picture book should slip off the constraints of dates and timelines in favor of a poetic pastiche of images. We follow Georgia from birth to old age, from Wisconsin to New York to her beloved New Mexico, but instead of her glory fading into infirmity, she gains vigor as her artistic vision matures and her talent ripens.
And this is how her many fans -- myself included -- remember her; more graceful, commanding and revered with every beloved wrinkle.
Paschkis captures what she can in paper collages, but its Rodriguez' prose that brings the artist to life:
Georgia expresses feelings in her own way. Words work. But for her, the color blue says it better.
Or red. Or a seashell.
A pale bone.