Feb 17, 2012

Just Behave, Pablo Picasso!

Just Behave, Pablo Picasso! by Jonah Winter
Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
Published by Arthur A. Levine Books

     Just Behave, Pablo Picasso! explores Picasso's early years as a painter.  We learn about his amazing abilities since he was a young boy in art class, where "in the time that it takes them [older pupils] to do a sketch, Pablo has completed a large oil painting." Picasso never stopped evolving as an artist.  "In the time it takes other people to admire the exquisite beauty of his art, young Pablo has moved onto some other style." Though art patrons asked him to focus in the type of art that sold well, Picasso kept pushing the envelope, saying that "to copy yourself is pathetic!"  The book takes us on a journey of the evolution of his art all the way to his cubist stage.
     The illustrations by Hawkes are bold, colorful and play with perspectives while also portraying some of Picasso's most famous works.  There are some wonderful images illustrated by Hawkes like where we see Picasso literally exploding into the art scene, jumping into the middle of a realistic painting of an idyllic landscape.  Also, there are some very nice transitions between his different stages like the tail end of his matador cape as he moves from museums to bullfight arenas.  Or the foreshadowing of his blue period while in France, announced by the deep blue used to color the underbelly of the Arc de Triumph in Paris.
     Just Behave, Pablo Picasso! is a non-fiction picture book that shows the courage and brilliance of Picasso.  There is an extensive author's note adding to the historical context and importance of Picasso.  Fantastic addition to a biography or nonfiction library.


  1. Hi, Natalia. I've recently become more interested in reading (and writing) picture book biographies and am always on the lookout for the newest ones...and especially ones related to the arts. Hope our local library gets this one!

    1. Hi Kerry!
      I've just discovered how wonderful PB biographies can be...and I'm loving the reception they get when I read them in the classroom. Hope you get a chance to read this one!