OWTK KidLit + Comics

Kid’s Book Review: Noonie’s Masterpiece


By Lisa Railsback
Illustrated by Sarajo Frieden

A sweet cupcake of a story with sadness sprinkles adorning the top.

10-year old Noonie doesn’t much care for school, save for art class.  She’s an inspiring artist living inside a dream, a fabrication of a life she’ll never have, and while the reality of her desperate situation is ever present it doesn’t interfere with the telling of her simple, often funny tale about wishing for bigger, better things and never giving up hope.

The source of Noonie’s dismay is her home life, which doesn’t include her father (always traveling for work) or mother (deceased).  Her pop is involved only via the post office, so Noonie instead lives with relatives that do not fully understand or appreciate her – certainly a plot that will have many youngsters nodding in approval.  We never learn exactly why dad cannot come back to his daughter, not once, and the episodes where this is painfully obvious can be tough on young ears; we find Noonie attempting to will her father home through tall tales she certainly doesn’t believe fully, and to resurrect the spirit of her mother through her own artistic purple period.

Noonie’s Masterpiece is a delicate book, with outstanding illustrations, that balances on the edge of humor and sadness. It speaks to the power of passion without fear, finding friendship in unlikely people, and of the great importance of the traits passed on to us from our mothers and fathers.  Noonie teaches us that when we lose someone important, we should hold on to more than just memories.

Check out Chronicle Book sub-site for Noonie’s Masterpiece to discover free printable art sheets, discussion points for parents & teachers, and to request an event kit (to host a Noonie art party).

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