Chasing Degas

Overview

Monsieur Degas likes to paint the students while they practice in ballet class—they’ve inspired many of his beautiful paintings. But one day he mistakenly leaves his bag of paints in the dance studio and instead takes a young ballerina’s bag, which contains her new tutu for the evening’s recital! And so the ballerina begins a great chase to find Degas before her big night.
 
As she searches the streets of Paris, the ballerina encounters ...

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Overview

Monsieur Degas likes to paint the students while they practice in ballet class—they’ve inspired many of his beautiful paintings. But one day he mistakenly leaves his bag of paints in the dance studio and instead takes a young ballerina’s bag, which contains her new tutu for the evening’s recital! And so the ballerina begins a great chase to find Degas before her big night.
 
As she searches the streets of Paris, the ballerina encounters many other Impressionist painters, who are in the process of painting some of their great works. Monet, Renoir, Caillebotte, and Cassatt help the ballerina until she is reunited, at last, with Degas.
 
Featuring the original Impressionist paintings that inspired this picture book of historical fiction, along with an author’s note about Impressionism and this vibrant period in Paris, Chasing Degas will delight young lovers of art and ballet.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Montanari's tale, narrated by a young ballerina, is inspired by the Impressionist paintings of ballet dancers by Edgar Degas in the 1870's. At the last rehearsal before her recital, our young dancer is distressed to find that the painter has taken her bag with her new tutu by mistake. She rushes off to find him in time for the performance. In her search she encounters the painters Caillebotte, Monet, and Renoir. She pursues Degas to the paint store of Pere Tanguy, who sends her to Mary Cassatt's studio. But Degas has already left there. She finally catches him in time to get her tutu and give him his bag, so he can paint the performance, and she can be "the star of the show." On the jacket/cover our ballerina swirls down a cobbled street with paint tubes flying from Degas's bag, setting the emotional stage as well as the geographic setting. On her quest she not only runs into now-famous painters, but she finds each of them in the context of one of their paintings. There is liveliness in the double-page pastel scenes, undergirding the impressionistic style as well as our young dancer's energetic enthusiasm. On the final pages are reproductions of the original paintings that inspired the story, complete with factual information and background on the Impressionists. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—Degas has painted the ballet students as they rehearse in the opera house many times, but today he has left with the wrong bag, and a young dancer must return his paints and recover her tutu before it is time for her performance that evening. She searches the streets of Paris for the artist and meets several other Impressionists along the way, and each one leads her closer to Degas. The inclusion of certain facts is awkward. For example, after telling the ballerina to look for Degas at the art shop, Renoir adds, "Did you know that the color black doesn't exist in nature?" Expressive pastel illustrations lend appeal. An author's note and color reproductions of the art that inspired the story will help young readers make connections, but this contrived tale may not hold children's attention.—Lisa Glasscock, Columbine Public Library, Littleton, CO
Kirkus Reviews
A young ballerina excited about the evening's upcoming performance discovers that she and Monsieur Degas, at work in the rehearsal studio on The Dance Class, have switched bags. He has her tutu and she has his paints. Frantically, she pursues him through Caillebotte's Paris Street, Rainy Day, past Monet's Boulevard des Capucines and Renoir's Bal du Moulin de la Galette, Montmartre. She enters a studio where Cassatt is at work on Little Girl in a Blue Armchair and returns in triumph to star in Degas's Ballet: L'Etoile. Readers will enjoy a charming study of French Impressionism as the dancer is directed from one great painter to the next. Montanari melds images of the artists at work on their canvases with a young dancer moving and posing beautifully. The slightly elongated figures combined with unusual perspectives and a pastel palette of yellows, browns, blues and pinks evoke the time and set the tone. Along the way, there are nuggets of information about the artists' techniques. A lovely book to share with budding artists and families off to visit an art museum or Paris. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810938786
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 497,328
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.84 (w) x 11.28 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Eva Montanari is an internationally recognized author and illustrator whose work has been seen in calendars, books, posters, and magazines. She has been praised by Children’s Literature, which said, “The acrylic and colored pencil illustrations that fill the pages . . . have strong impact.” She lives in Rimini, Italy.

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