A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Only four reproductions of Rivera's paintings are included, although the glowing illustrations by Diaz represent Rivera's love of Mexico in an impressive statement. The prose poems refer to historical events and people such as a wet nurse that will have little meaning or appeal for readers younger than 12, although publishers age range is 9-12. The educational value is mostly in the glossary, the biographical overview, notes, and quotations.
Rivera's life reveals a dedication to the arts, love and respect for his country, but also lots of womanizing.
Positive Role Models
Diego Rivera expressed his love for the common worker of Mexico throughout his chosen medium, the mural. As a revolutionary, a member of the Communist Party, and unapologetic individualist he built a life based on his convictions but at the same time fathered children he did not support, abandoned several wives, and had multiple affairs.
Violence & Scariness
Refers to Indians killed by Mexican soldiers, tells of fighting in the Mexican Revolution, blowing up trains and avoiding the firing squad.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Prose poems and historical notes refer to large number of affairs Rivera had, including the sister of one wife he was still married to; numerous children he fathered out of wedlock; his voracious love for women.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this prose account of Diego Rivera includes colorful descriptions of his love affairs, including one with the sister of one of his wives, and the unapologetic abandonment of some of his children and the deaths of others; young readers may be confused by the lighthearted representations. The poems and the artwork are vibrant and reveal a charismatic man, but will have little appeal for most readers of the publisher's recommended target ages, 9-12. Also, the prose poems don't distinguish between the stories Rivera fabricated and the facts of his life; readers will have to read the notes at the end to ascertain what was true and what was not.
Is It Any Good?
For readers 12 and up, this is a vibrant introduction to an artist as well known for his Communist Party loyalties and convictions as for his richly colored murals. The prose poems are sophisticated and artsy, while the accompanying, glowing illustrations seem aimed at a younger age. This book would work best in a classroom setting, or accompanied by other books that reproduce more of Rivera's artwork for readers to enjoy and/or study. As a picture book for older readers, this is a luminous volume by Bernier-Grand that introduces budding artists to a fascinating art form.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.