Suzette and the Puppy: A Story About Mary Cassatt by Joan Sweeney. Illustrated by Jennifer Heyd Wharton; 32 pages; hardcover. Barron's Educational Series, 2000. Ages 5 and up.
PreS-Gr 3-This picture book introduces children to a well-known painting. A young French girl visits the park each day with her nursemaid. While playing, she meets a woman who owns a puppy, and Nipper and Suzette become fast friends. The story describes their amusing encounters. The child is surprised to learn that the dog's owner is Mary Cassatt, whom her uncle, Edgar Degas, has commissioned to paint her portrait, resulting in Little Girl in a Blue Armchair, now hanging in the National Gallery of Art. This fictionalized tale is enjoyable for its serene depiction of Parisian life around 1870. Watercolor illustrations evoke the impressionist style and blend in with Cassatt's own work. On one of the last pages, the author encourages discussion by asking readers to consider why Suzette appears bored in the masterpiece.-Ilene Abramson, Los Angeles Public Library (AMAZON)