Little Girl in a Red Dress With Cat and Dog

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ThatÆs me over the fireplace. When I was a little girl and living with my parents on the farm, Mr. Ammi Phillips came, and I sat for a portrait. Well, I almost sat. In those days, I couldnÆt sit still for long. The arrival of a travelling painter is cause for great delight when the young narrator is looking for someone to play with. SheÆs too young to help the cook, her brothers, her sisters, her father and mother. But what else can she do? Sit for a painting, of course! But itÆs not as easy as it looksùsitting ...
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Overview

ThatÆs me over the fireplace. When I was a little girl and living with my parents on the farm, Mr. Ammi Phillips came, and I sat for a portrait. Well, I almost sat. In those days, I couldnÆt sit still for long. The arrival of a travelling painter is cause for great delight when the young narrator is looking for someone to play with. SheÆs too young to help the cook, her brothers, her sisters, her father and mother. But what else can she do? Sit for a painting, of course! But itÆs not as easy as it looksùsitting still isnÆt as much fun as playing with her cat and dog. Or is it? The original Girl in Red with Her Cat and Dog by Ammi Phillips might have been painted in much the same setting as this striking book. Cynthia von BuhlerÆs illustrations, reminiscent of nineteenth century American folk artùtogether with Nicholas B. A. NicholsonÆs engaging story and helpful background noteùwill appeal to children and collectors alike.

Tells a fictionalized story of how this actual portrait of a young farm girl came to be painted by Ammi Phillips sometime around 1835 in Dutchess County, New York.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
If museum walls could talk, they might share something like this imaginative debut from both author and artist, inspired by a 19th-century painting by folk artist Ammi Phillips. In Nicholson's fantasy, the young subject of a Phillips portrait narrates a tale of life on her family's New York farm and how she came to pose for the artist. As the youngest in her family, the girl of the title has trouble finding anyone to pay attention to her her father tends to his paperwork, her mother entertains the local ladies and her siblings work on their own projects, until Mr. Phillips arrives, brushes and palette in hand. Nicholson writes with a childlike clarity and immediacy, and accurately describes life for a bustling family of means in the 1800s. Including full-bleed paintings and framed vignettes, Buhler's illustrations, styled after folk art, integrate the patterns and weathered, painted wood textures common for the era. Buhler's subjects' jewel-toned clothing and countryside, and dusty brown farmyard provide a distinct sense of time and place. For youngsters at the threshold of the museum door, this volume invites them to view paintings as the result of an interaction between the artist and his subject, and for regulars, it may prompt them to see artwork in a new light. Ages 4-8. Feb.
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Taking as a starting point a notable primitive portrait by the itinerant folk artist Ammi Phillips, Nicholson and von Buhler have created a charming vision of life in upstate New York in the 1830's. As the young heroine blithely skips through her daily activities, we learn how the family farm is operated, and even how traveling painters charged for their services by the head ("One painting, one girl, one fee.") The narration is warm and accessible, and von Buhler's sponged and layered gouache canvasses achieve a lovely antique effect.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4The title and story of this unique book are based on an actual painter and painting. Ammi Phillips was a traveling portrait artist in the 1830's. The child is a rambunctious girl whose family is too busy with everyday tasks to have her underfoot. One day Phillips arrives and it is decided that she and her pets will sit for the portrait. Illustrations feature the painting style of the timefolk-art oils done in deep reds and blues. Layout also parallels the era, using a variety of partial-, full-, and double-page spreadssome bordered in ovals and squares to resemble portraits. Visual details, too, are indicative of the periodneedlepoint, china, fashion. This book has an interesting premise but will need an introduction for children to understand its historical significance. Young readers will relate to the universal theme of an "ignored" child finding her place and becoming the center of attention. Art teachers may also be able to use this title as a springboard to research and projects. While this is not a selection children will gravitate to on their own, there is plenty to interest them once they discover it.Heide Piehler, Shorewood Public Library, WI
Horn
Inspired by a painting in the Museum of Folk Art in New York City, the author has imagined the story that lies behind it. The tale of the lively little girl, youngest in her large family, is one that will be familiar to children. Everybody is too busy to pay attention to her; her efforts to help her parents result in her being shunted off to her brothers, who send her to her sisters, who send her to the cook. But she's always too young or too small or too noisy to take part in their occupations, so she plays outside with Cat and Dog. One night, the painter Ammi Phillips appears at the house offering to paint a family portrait, but only the little girl has the time to sit for him. Suddenly, though, everyone becomes interested in the painting, and the little girl finds herself the center of attention: her sisters loan her their clothes and jewelry, her brothers let her help them, even the cook lets her stir the soup. And the portrait is beautiful. This satisfying story is illustrated with paintings in a folk-art style, stiff but colorful and detailed. It is unfortunate that the publishers were unable to reproduce the original painting, Portrait of a Little Girl in a Red Dress with Cat and Dog, which would have added yet another dimension to an already delightful book. With an informative and personal author's note.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670871834
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/1/1998
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.34 (w) x 8.46 (h) x 0.33 (d)

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