Sarah's Reviews > Diego: Bigger Than Life

Diego by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand
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's review
Feb 07, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: informational-books-and-biographies, latino-a-rll-528, poetry

Diego Rivera (1886-1957) was indeed larger than life. His passion for life, love, and art drove him toward success. A brilliant and hugely (literally) talented man, his passions often led to controversy and tumultuous relationships. He is most famous for his large murals in Mexico and the United States depicting the history and plight of the working-class people. He is also well known for his fiery love affairs, especially with Frida Kahlo, to whom he was married twice.

Carmen T. Bernier-Grand’s text reflects his emotional, passionate life. The use of poetry is perfect for depicting this. Her words are expressive and informative at the same time. Each poem of the book, told through Diego Rivera’s point-of-view, tells vividly of his many experiences from his birth through his death. Her poetry is the reason for my awarding this book four stars.

Although, David Diaz’s illustrations captured the light and liveliness of Diego Rivera, I was a bit disappointed in his visuals of Frida Kahlo. Her distinct appearance and style of dress, was not really captured. I do realize that David Diaz’s illustrative style is more abstract, using shape and color to tell the story.

I believe this book is worth sharing with older elementary students and older students. The information of his life told through wonderful poetry would be a nice way to introduce the life of this important Mexican artist to students. I would be reluctant to use it with younger students, due to the mature nature of the content, specifically his affairs. Other aspects such as his involvement with communism and the political controversies of his art might be lost on younger audiences. A wonderful companion book would be Frida: ¡Viva la vida! Long Live Life, by the same author. This 2008 Pura Belpré Author Honor book tells the story of Frida Kahlo’s life through her point-of-view. I highly recommend it.

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