Mary Cassatt was a headstrong, determined girl. She wanted to be an artist in 1860, a time when proper girls certainly weren't artists. It wasn't polite. But Mary herself wasn't polite. She pursued art with a passion, moving to Paris to study, painting what she saw. Her work was rejected by the Salon judges time and time again. One day, the great painter Edgar Degas invited her to join him and his group of independent artists, those who flouted the rules and painted as they pleased-the Impressionists. Mary was on her way.
"I began to live," said Mary. Today, her paintings hang in museums around the world and she is recognized as one of the most celebrated female artists of all time.
Herkert and Swiatkowska present an enchanting portrait of an uncompromising artist, and from the start there's no mistaking that Cassatt was uninterested in hewing to social and artistic conventions. "In 1860, proper girls weren't artists. They had polite hobbies flower arranging, needlepoint. Not Mary," Herkert writes, as Swiatkowska pictures a young Cassatt glowering, arms crossed over her chest (one suspects she's about to rip the giant white bow off her own head). Swiatkowska does an exceptional job of evoking Cassatt's artwork and era while staying true to the idiosyncrasies of her own work, and as Herkert follows Cassatt from art school to Europe and friendship with Degas, the rewards of creating art on one's own terms become abundantly clear. Ages 4 8. Author's agent: Karen Grencik, Red Fox Literary. Illustrator's agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Literary Management.