A Portrait in Poems

The Storied Life of Gertrude Stein & Alice B. Toklas

Written by Evie Robillard, Illustrated by Rachel Katstaller

The first words inside the jacket cover, “The next time you got to Paris…,” caught my attention. Last spring I visited Paris for the first time. This visit left me with a great desire to return again. This book portrays the life of Gertrude Stein and friend, Alice Toklas. Gertrude Stein is an American-born writer and art collector who spent her adult years in Paris rubbing shoulders with many other famous artists during the early 1900s, such as Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway.

The flowing, freestyle verse in this book is a charming tribute to the unique lives of these two women. The pastel colored illustrations catch the time period in Paris beautifully. This being said, I question the appeal of the subject matter to a younger audience. And yes, the next time I go to Paris I will plan a day to visit Gertrude’s two residences (27 rue de Fleurus and 5 rue Christine) and the cemetery (Pere Lachaise) where Gertrude and Alice were buried.

Reviewed by Kristen Hunt, Media Clerk, Whittier Elementary School
Rating: ★★★★✩ (4 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 3-7
Review shared in April 2020

A Portrait in Poems: The Storied Life of Gertrude Stein & Alice B. Toklas
Written by Evie Robillard, Illustrated by Rachel Katstaller
Kids Can Press
48 pages
Release Date: March 3, 2020
ISBN: 9781525300561
A review copy was provided by the publisher.

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