Noonie's Masterpiece [NOOK Book]

Overview

Fantastic illustrations with a fresh, contemporary look enrich this debut novel about a 10-year-old aspiring artist stuck living with an aunt, uncle, and cousin who clearly don't recognize her genius. A humorous and heartfelt reminder that "a brilliant artist is never afraid," this book reveals that sometimes our greatest masterpieces are the bonds we unexpectedly forge with the people in our lives.
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Noonie's Masterpiece

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Overview

Fantastic illustrations with a fresh, contemporary look enrich this debut novel about a 10-year-old aspiring artist stuck living with an aunt, uncle, and cousin who clearly don't recognize her genius. A humorous and heartfelt reminder that "a brilliant artist is never afraid," this book reveals that sometimes our greatest masterpieces are the bonds we unexpectedly forge with the people in our lives.
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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Ten-year-old Noonie Norton is making her way in a world that does not always understand the brilliant yet undiscovered artist she is. Her mother has died and her archaeologist father has left her with her aunt and uncle, because she would be "better off in a real home with a real family." Noonie spends her days at school, often in the principal's office, thinking about herself or the artists in her Masterpieces of Art book. She has her favorites, from Van Gogh to Kahlo to Basquiat, but the artist who has the most influence on her life is her deceased mother. The humorous, sketchbook-style illustrations give readers another window into Noonie's world. She misses her father desperately, and it's only an art contest that helps her see who her real family might be. Filled with the self-absorption and longing that is a hallmark of her age, Noonie's rambling, heartfelt story will appeal to young artists who are, like Noonie, trying to find where they belong in their world . . . or just their family. (Fiction. 8-12)
Publishers Weekly
“Dear Art and History People,” begins this debut narrated by arty fourth-grader Noonie. “You should definitely take a whole lot of notes because in a hundred years people will want to know everything about me.” After a while, readers may find this swaggering tone tiresome (“I'm not sure if anyone really understood my brilliant work, but that's how the masses are”), but they will learn that it masks sadness and insecurity. Living with her aunt, uncle, and cousin, Noonie misses her deceased mother and her father, a world-traveling archeologist. Frieden (The Care and Feeding of Fish) captures Noonie's careening emotions in quirky doodles (Noonie's beloved art teacher, Ms. Lilly, wears a fantastical garden for a hat, and a chapter on artist's block begins with an ominous brick wall). With the help of Ms. Lilly, the eye-opening results of an art contest, and a humorous pep talk by Van Gogh and other masters, Noonie comes to accept both her eccentricity and her loving, if not ideal, family. Readers with similar worries may find this a rewarding, if not masterful, pep talk as well. Ages 9-12. (May)
From the Publisher
BOOKLIST
Noonie['s]...pain and vulnerability are as evident as her belief in herself as an artist, and by the end of the story, she'll have readers in her corner.

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
With the help of Ms. Lilly, the eye-opening results of an art contest, and a humorous pep talk by Van Gogh and other masters, Noonie comes to accept both her eccentricity and her loving, if not ideal, family. Readers with similar worries may find this a rewarding, if not masterful, pep talk as well.

KIRKUS REVIEWS
Filled with the self-absorption and longing that is a hallmark of her age, Noonie's rambling, heartfelt story will appeal to young artists who are, like Noonie, trying to find where they belong in their world or just their family.

DISCOVERY GIRLS
"Fast, funny, and filled with Noonie's wild art."

Children's Literature - Melissa Rife
Noonie Norton is not your everyday fifth-grader. Her mom died when she was in kindergarten, her dad is a world-travelling archeologist, and she lives with her extended family. Most importantly, though, Noonie knows she will someday become a famous artist, which is why her whole life revolves around "her art" and getting people to understand it. When Ms. Lilly, the art teacher, announces an art contest, Noonie is determined to win, so that her dad will come home and whisk her away, but runs into a big problem when she finds out that for the contest, she has to do a family portrait. Noonie's story is actually very deep and interesting, although the character herself can become a bit precocious at times. From an adult standpoint, you understand why she is acting out in school and constantly getting into trouble. But from the perspective of one of the intended-aged readers, Noonie is just another kid with a really interesting story to tell. I think that what comes off as precociousness to an adult is completely normal for a fifth-grader. They know what they want to do, they think they know everything, and Noonie's story teaches a good lesson that perhaps they do not know everything. By the end, Noonie truly begins to appreciate the life that she has with her relatives, and see them as her family, and begins to see that she is not the only student in the school with a "non-perfect" family. There is clear change in her which serves as a lesson to those who may be acting out, as well. Some of the illustrations are odd, but that is also the way that Noonie's art is described. Don't be turned off by the funny cover; this is a great book. Reviewer: Melissa Rife
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Noonie Norton, 10, considers herself a brilliant but undiscovered artist. Since the death of her artist mother, she lives with her aunt, uncle, and younger cousin, while her archaeologist father travels extensively. The girl is eccentric, donning odd clothes, daydreaming, drawing in class, and spontaneously using her peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich to make pictures on the school floor. She goes through blue and purple periods during which everything she wears or paints is in that color. Schoolmates stay away, except for Reno, a clumsy math nerd who idolizes her. Noonie misses her father greatly and writes him letters describing her Blue Flu, Moldy Blue Fever, or Biting Blue Rabies so he will come home, and he corresponds regularly, often sending her gifts he finds on his travels. Railsback's story, originally written as a play, maintains the prominent theme of art serving as therapy. Noonie's beloved Masterpieces of Art provides hours of comfort as she imagines her affinity with Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, Vincent Van Gogh, and others. Frieden's ink-and-watercolor illustrations float through the book like the dreamy thoughts of an aspiring young artist. Although a few characters are one-dimensional, Noonie's first-person chat with readers allows myriad emotions, and growth, to shine through. Interesting enough for reluctant readers, this title can be used in a unit on artists, but it also paints a lovely, quirky portrait as a stand-alone.—D. Maria LaRocco, Cuyahoga Public Library, Strongsville, OH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781452133973
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 9/24/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 615,131
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • File size: 11 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Lisa Railsback was a Jerome Fellow at the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis and a Michener Fellow in Writing at the University of Texas at Austin. Her plays have been performed across the United States. Noonie's Masterpiece was originally a play. She lives in Austin, Texas.

Sarajo Frieden is an illustrator and fine artist whose work has been exhibited in galleries all over the world. Her work appears frequently in magazines and art venues, and her clients range from the New Yorker to UNICEF.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2010

    I love this book!

    I love this book because I love art, artists, and drawing. I really like the main character Noonie. I also like Rino her best friend and her art teacher Miss Lilly. I like how Noonie goes through periods like her blue period and then her purple period. What I learned from this book is to believe in yourself. I want the author to make a sequel or series for this book. I'd like to hear about the rest of Noonie's life.

    I am 9 years old and in 3rd grade. I recommend it for other kids that like art.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2014

    Great book. Beatiful illustrations.

    This book is wonderful. A must read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book Club.com

    Noonie is sure that she will someday be a famous artist. She knows many well-known artists go through periods where they focus on color, and she herself has been through a blue period. This came after her mom died while she was in kindergarten and her dad's job as an archeologist took him to locations around the world while she stayed home with her Aunt Sophie, Uncle Ralph, and her younger cousin Junior.

    Now Noonie is in her purple period, and she's sure her latest efforts will make her famous. Noonie's Masterpiece by Lisa Railsback with art by Sarajo Frieden is a delightful book about what makes a family. Noonie gets into lots of trouble as she dismisses everything in her life except her art. Her creativity is spent trying to coax her dad back home and trying to avoid math.

    Noonie is always looking through her book of masterpieces, and as she talks about famous artists in recent history, the reader learns about them too. Mother-daughter book clubs with girls aged 9 through 12 could have a lot of fun finding photos of the famous pieces of art Noonie talks about and discussing why they may be considered great. Other topics to discuss include how art fits with more traditional school subjects like math and literature, coping with the loss of a parent, and finding what's special inside each of us.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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