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Review of Remy and Lulu

hawkes_remy and luluRemy and Lulu
by Kevin Hawkes; 
illus. by the author with 
miniatures by Hannah E. Harrison
Primary    Knopf    40 pp.
9/14    978-0-449-81085-9    $17.99
Library ed.  978-0-449-81087-3    $20.99    g
e-book ed.  978-0-449-81089-7    $10.99

Lulu, a lithe and clever little Parisian dog, used to live with a “great portrait painter,” but now she’s homeless. Remy, a hirsute itinerant painter, is also down on his luck. Even with his specs, Remy’s eyesight is poor; thus, “I paint the essence of a person, not their likeness.” Unfortunately, his impressionistic portraits don’t please buyers; fortunately, unbeknownst to Remy, Lulu is an artist, too. Once the two join forces, Lulu’s meticulous vignettes of Remy’s sitters’ pets, which she surreptitiously adds to Remy’s paintings, delight his subjects: “Such detail! Such color!” Orders pour in and all goes well until, donning new glasses, Remy discovers what Lulu has done and quits painting in self-disgust. Lulu saves the day by returning Remy’s old glasses — through which his true artistic vision is once again clear. Even those not quite ready to distinguish between literal and artistic vision, or to recognize visual references to such luminaries as Picasso and Monet, will be amused by Lulu’s canny taking-charge. Meanwhile, the three contrasting painting styles — Lulu’s classic elegance (which Harrison renders with notable humor), Remy’s turn-of-the-twentieth-century modernism, and Hawkes’s own lively and painterly milieu — together make an inviting and amusing introduction to the myriad possibilities of representational art.

From the September/October 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Joanna Rudge Long About Joanna Rudge Long

Joanna Rudge Long is former editor of Kirkus Reviews and a frequent lecturer on children’s books.

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