Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Noonie's Masterpiece” as Want to Read:
Noonie's Masterpiece
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Noonie's Masterpiece

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  113 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
Fantastic illustrations with a fresh, contemporary look enrich this debut novel about a 10-year-old aspiring artist stuck living with an aunt, uncle, and cousin who clearly don't recognize her genius. A humorous and heartfelt reminder that "a brilliant artist is never afraid," this book reveals that sometimes our greatest masterpieces are the bonds we unexpectedly forge wi ...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published February 24th 2010 by Chronicle Books
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Noonie's Masterpiece, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Noonie's Masterpiece

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. DraperMockingjay by Suzanne CollinsOne Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-GarciaCountdown by Deborah WilesMockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
Newbery 2011
80th out of 136 books — 540 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 207)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Apr 02, 2011 Mercadoodles rated it really liked it
What a beautiful book—the words, the illustrations, and the design all came together exquisitely. The trim size is also lovely: small and precious.

Noonie is a dedicated artist to a point of obsession. All she wants to do is draw and paint. She doesn't feel like she needs to go to school because she will be discovered as a great artist, she is sure of it. Her mother passed away when she was five, and her father is an archaeologist who is required to travel. This leaves Noonie in the care of her w
Sep 29, 2011 Josiah rated it liked it
"And I just like to believe...that artists have the power to change the world."

—Ms. Lilly, Noonie's Masterpiece, P. 93

If Lisa Railsback keeps up this kind of writing for much longer, she's going to end up becoming one of my favorite authors. Filled with the same spirit of personal independence in the face of past sadness that buoyed Betti on the High Wire, Noonie's Masterpiece is a wonderfully imaginative, playfully funny story about a budding ten-year-old artist named Noonie, who lives apart
Mary Ann
Ten year old Noonie Norton is an artist just waiting to be discovered. She’s sure of it. But no one else understands her. Not her Aunt Sylvia or Uncle Ralph. Not her math teacher Mrs. Tusk or Principal Maloney. Perhaps the only people who can glimpse Noonie’s creative potential are her art teacher Ms. Lilly and her best friend Reno. Noonie’s mother died five years ago, and now Noonie’s father is in faraway China examining fossilized wild yak bones. But Noonie feels a strong bond with her artisti ...more
Cindy Hudson
Jul 23, 2010 Cindy Hudson rated it really liked it
Noonie is sure that she will someday be a famous artist. She knows many well-known artists go through periods where they focus on color, and she herself has been through a blue period. This came after her mom died while she was in kindergarten and her dad’s job as an archeologist took him to locations around the world while she stayed home with her Aunt Sophie, Uncle Ralph, and her younger cousin Junior.

Now Noonie is in her purple period, and she’s sure her latest efforts will make her famous. N
Bridget R. Wilson
Aug 30, 2010 Bridget R. Wilson rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
Noonie Norton is an artist. She means to be a famous artist, but she realizes that most artists don't become famous until they die. Nevertheless, Noonie wants us to know about her and her art. Right now, she's ten-years-old and she's already had a Blue Period (which coincided with her mother's death), and she is just starting her Purple Period. We leave Noonie at the beginning of her Polka-Dot period. Throughout it all, Noonie is outspoken and endearing. She learns what a family is and that appe ...more
Apr 27, 2010 Bonnie rated it it was amazing
Sarajo Frieden is my sister! She emailed me the Noonie manuscript ages ago; initially she was asked to do a bare minimum of illustrating, but the project grew over time. Doodles morphed to black and white drawings and later she was asked to add color.

When I finally had the book in hand, I emailed my sister: “I'm in love with Noonie - everything about it. Feel as if I'm inhaling it. Am thrilled with each detail that I notice. Just too fabulous for words. Want to read it, but don't want this firs
Mar 14, 2010 Alea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-for-review
Noonie's Masterpiece would have been my FAVORITE book in elementary school. Noonie is a surprisingly dedicated artist for a 4th grader, she carries her art supplies with her everywhere and creates art whenever the mood strikes her, be it a parking lot or in the hallway. But it's not surprising Noonie has latched onto art the way she has, her mother died when she was younger (she was also an artist), her father is away on archaeological digs and she lives with her aunt, uncle and cousin.

The story
Fourth grade Noonie is a budding artist just waiting to be found out. She knows she will be famous one day, but like most famous artists, it will probably be when she is dead. After her mother dies and her father travels the world for work, Noonie Norton lives with her aunt, uncle and cousin who don't realize her artistic genius at all. Throughout the book Noonie goes through different artistic periods--her blue period, her purple period, and even her polka dot period--all while trying to convin ...more
Mar 22, 2010 Katrina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was such an artistic children's book. I learned things about artists I would have never known otherwise. It was educational and emotional and fun all wrapped up into one book. Little Noonie, who's mom has died and father is a traveling archeologist, is a wonderful artist. She has a blue period and a purple period and even a polka dotted period. All Noonie really wants is for her dad to come home and take her with him, but of course it would be too dangerous and she has school to think about ...more
Morninglight Mama
Jan 26, 2016 Morninglight Mama rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s, fiction
Such a one-of-a-kind book! With a clever mix of illustrations, doodles, wild color schemes, and a whimsical first-person narrator who is struggling with a significant loss, this middle grade story is both entertaining and touching. I have to admit that I giggled more than once during this reading, and I found my heartstrings being tugged as well.
May 03, 2010 Laura rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Joan Marie
Jan 25, 2016 Joan Marie rated it it was amazing
fun read for young readers
fun format with lots of colorful graphics; perfect for artsy Noonie, a 3rd grader
Sandra Stiles
Oct 31, 2010 Sandra Stiles rated it it was amazing
Noonie lives with her aunt, uncle, and cousin because her archaeologist father travels a lot. Her artist mother died when she was very young. Noonie has proclaimed herself an undiscovered artist. I loved when she went through her blue or purple periods. She dreams of winning the school's art contest because she's sure this will bring her dad home. Noonie uses her art to help her understand what family and art is. I know this book is geared for upper elementary and lower middle grades, but as an ...more
Jul 06, 2014 Talia rated it really liked it
i liked this book because it was about an imaginative girl with a craving for art
Sep 20, 2009 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really connected with this play and found Railsback’s Production Note about teachers and students responding to it positively very heartening. The fact that she includes the famous artists is a really fantastic educational and visual tool and certainly brings a supernatural element to a very human story. I was reminded of the presence of Mozart in Still Life with Iris and Monet in Defying Gravity. In all three of these cases, the famous artists serve as a comforting presence to the main charac ...more
May 15, 2015 Trish rated it liked it
Like this almost as much as Betti on the High Wire. Hope she writes more. I think is skews too young for SPoT-MS though.
Dec 11, 2014 Snail rated it it was amazing
It was quite a creative book. I really enjoyed the pictures, as they took up half of the book. But even the writing was nice. I like how Noonie lives with her aunt and uncle (and cousin), and her dad is an archeologist somewhere far off. And her "periods".
Again, very original book.
Susan Reyna
Jan 21, 2014 Susan Reyna rated it it was amazing
Creative tale of a child artist's struggle to understand her place in her family and the art world.
Apr 17, 2010 Gmr rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all
Recommended to Gmr by: Chronicle Books
I loved this book! I was looking for a light break from a slighty heavier current read and this was just the ticket. The creative way Noonie's story is presented combined with a message good for both young readers ("a brillant artist must try not to be afraid") and adult readers (the story presented has many underlying themes as well)....definitely a book to check on the next time you are out and about. Happy reading!
Feb 27, 2016 Robin rated it really liked it
While looking at activities on Chronicle Books webpage in the fall, I saw this book listed. Then before I had a chance to purchase it for the library, I happened upon a copy in a used book store. It's such a fun book for budding artists or anyone who wants to learn about art and artists. Definitely adding this one to the library's collection.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid style book with lots of sketches and illustrations. Adds a lot of depth to the story, which is about a 4th-grade girl who's an aspiring artist, like her mother who passed away when Noonie was 5 years old. Great story about finding your own voice and not giving up.
Angie Ungaro
Sep 25, 2010 Angie Ungaro rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya_and_kidlit
I really liked this book. Read the ARC a while back so I'm going on memory. I wonder if reading the book in full color would change anything for me. I thought Noonie was a really likable and smart character. Looking forward to more in this series.
Amanda Northrup
Oct 05, 2013 Amanda Northrup marked it as abandoned
Too many comments about how artists don't need school and they certainly don't need math. I just couldn't take it anymore. Abandoned
Feb 11, 2012 Nessie rated it it was amazing
i love this book!!! i intend on reading this book at least 10 more times. thank you lisa railsback for writing this book!
Mar 27, 2010 Betsy rated it liked it
One Sentence Review: Perfectly fine and fun little book, though very difficult to remember once you've put it down.
Aug 16, 2012 Taima rated it it was amazing
this book was amazing. the pictures and the story together were just amazing. enough said.
Horace Mann Family Reading Challenge
I love the character Noonie. N
Jul 21, 2013 Bubba rated it it was amazing
Three million stars.
Meh. It's okay.
Dana Rector
Dana Rector marked it as to-read
May 05, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Year the Swallows Came Early
  • The Reinvention of Edison Thomas
  • The Death-Defying Pepper Roux
  • The Seventh Level
  • Lucy Rose: Here's the Thing About Me
  • The Defense of Thaddeus A. Ledbetter
  • The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z.
  • Neil Flambé and the Marco Polo Murders (The Neil Flambé Capers #1)
  • The Gold-Threaded Dress
  • President of the Whole Fifth Grade
  • The Entertainer and the Dybbuk
  • Lost in Lexicon: An Adventure in Words and Numbers
  • The Dragon's Child
  • Storm Mountain
  • Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream
  • Rocky Road
  • The Other Side of Blue
  • Dogtag Summer

I live on my ranchette on the outskirts of Austin, Texas, with dogs, cats, deer, and other wild animals. My environment is very serene; it is my writing sanctuary. Currently I'm writing plays and novels for kids.

One of my goals with NOONIE'S MASTERPIECE was to write a novel that would be relevant for both kids and adults. It's a tribute to any creative person who understands the joy, anguish, an
More about Lisa Railsback...

Share This Book