Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Anne Elizabeth's Diary: A Young Artist's True Story

Anne Elizabeth's Diary: A Young Artist's True Story

Anne Elizabeth Rector, Kathleen Krull
Illustrator:  Anne Elizabeth Rector 
For ages 10 and up
Little Brown, 2004   ISBN: 0316072044

Twelve-year-old Anne Elizabeth Rector loves to paint. In fact she loves to paint more than anything in the world. Her passion is not something her parents understand, and they often comment on how they do not think that it is appropriate for a young girl to paint so much. However their daughter is a very determined young person, and she manages to persuade her parents to let her take painting lessons. She even gets them to let her go away for the summer to a special art class. Of course her mother goes with her as her chaperone because this is the year 1912, and young girls cannot travel on their own.

Anne Elizabeth has other interests, and with gentle touches of humor she tells us about her love of the movies, how she loves hats, and how she manages her parents. With her photographer father away so much, and her often sick mother watching over her all the time, Anne Elizabeth still manages to find ways to do the things that she enjoys. Her delicate little paintings and drawings pepper her diary and give us further insight into her world.

Kathleen Krull has done a masterful job presenting this diary in a beautiful and interesting format. There are Anne Elizabeth’s diary entries, her paintings, photographs taken by her father and also Krull’s own notes, which help the reader to understand what Anne Elizabeth’s world was like. Krull provides background information about “The Streets of New York,” “New York Pleasures,” “Women Artists” of the time, and much more. Readers are left with a warm understanding of how special Anne Elizabeth was, and how much she was influenced by the people, customs, and social restraints of her time.