Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Chasing Degas

Chasing Degas

Eva Montanari
Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2009   ISBN: 978-0810938786

A young ballerina has just completed the last rehearsal before the recital, and she is excited to try on her new tutu. She opens her bag and she discovers that the bag is full of paints. She quickly realizes what has happened; she and the painter who is often at the opera house, Monsieur Degas, have accidentally switched their bags so that she has a bag of paints and he has her bag with the tutu in it.

Quickly the young ballerina runs out into the street to try to catch up with Monsieur Degas. It is raining and when she takes shelter under an awning, she sees another painter at work. She asks this painter, Monsieur Caillebotte, if he knows where Degas is.   Monsieur Caillebotte then asks Monsieur Monet, who is painting in a hotel room upstairs, if he saw Degas.

Going from painter to painter, the ballerina follows in Degas’ wake. Somehow, she has to catch up with the man before it is too late.

In this unique picture book, Eva Montanari beautifully combines fact and fiction to give her readers a picture of Paris in the days when many of the world’s great Impressionist painters lived there. All of the paintings that inspired the author to create the book “were painted within five years of each other (1873-78) in northern Paris, not far from the opera house.”

At the back of the book, readers will see images of the paintings that inspired the book, and they will also find further information about the Impressionists and their work.