Viva Frida

by Yuyi Morales
With just a few words of English and Spanish on each double-page spread, Morales manages to speak on behalf of Frida Kahlo and summarize the artist’s life spent searching, seeing, playing, knowing, and dreaming. She realizes that she understands, loves, and creates, so she can finally declare, “I live!” Morales has chosen to illustrate the text with art using “stop-motion puppets made from steel, polymer clay, wool, acrylic paints, photography, and digital manipulation.” She uses all this to create vivid, intensely-colored pictures with a Frida-like doll in action, dressed in costume as she is in her self-portraits and surrounded by items from both her paintings and her life. Some of these are mentioned in the lengthy (English and Spanish-language) note that Morales adds to provide more information on both Kahlo and the artist’s influence on the author herself. The striking end pages are appropriate for the decorative, romantic, eye-catching work of visual art. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz.