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Mary Cassatt: Extraordinary Impressionist Painter

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  143 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Mary Cassatt was a headstrong, determined girl. She wanted to be an artist in 1860, a time when proper girls certainly weren't artists. It wasn't polite. But Mary herself wasn't polite. She pursued art with a passion, moving to Paris to study, painting what she saw. Her work was rejected by the Salon judges time and time again. One day, the great painter Edgar Degas invite ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 27th 2015 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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Average rating 3.66  · 
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Here's an opportunity to praise an editor. Christy Ottaviano at Henry Holt must have been the one who paired Gabi Swiatkowska with Barbara Herkert's picture book script about Mary Cassatt - at the very least, she's the one who signed off on it. And it's a genius matchup. Here's why.

My review is on
May 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
In 1860, girls did not become artists, but Mary knew exactly what she wanted to do. She enrolled in art school and then moved abroad despite her father’s protests. She copied the masters in The Louvre and lingered outside gallery windows. Art judges disliked her style, but she found herself welcomed to the group of independent artists by Degas himself. Soon she was painting exactly the way she liked and capturing life around her in her art.

Herkert tells the story of Mary Cassatt’s life with such
Jul 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
While describing Cassatt’s youth, the author states the following:

Mary grew up tall
and temperamental,
the map of her fate
etched in her mind.

The picture book goes on to describe how Mary forged her own path to achieve fame.
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. The story of Mary Cassatt flowed through the pages very nicely and her paintings are amazing. It showed a few examples of her art in the book. I also learned a lot about the artist that I didn't know before including how she and Degas were friends and never married. His work inspired her and she joined his group of Impressionists. Lovely book. I recommend reading this if you want to know some quick things about her life and how she became the artist with beautiful paintings we ...more
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
A wonderful gift for the young girl you know who has determined that she will be as an artist. I learned that Mary was from Pennsylvania and began her art education at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Later she convinced her parents to send her to Paris to study with the master of the era. She caught the eye of Degas and he shepherded artistic endeavors. Fortunately, Mary is an artist who helped all American artists and particularly women artists to be taken seriously by the leading critic ...more
Dec 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: art
Features Cassatt's family and Degas pretty prominently. There's not much focus on the importance of women and children being subjects of her art; the book is more interested in the importance of her being a woman artist.

I think this was aimed a little younger than many picture book biographies are; there's a bit less text.

Only image in the back matter is a picture of Cassatt, which seemed a little odd.
Aug 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Although the concept has so much potential and the use of impressionist art to tell the story makes for nice illustrations, the story-telling falls short in terms of engaging children. My 5-yr old who loves all kinds of books got bored.
It’s a pity because I was hoping for a good introduction to Mary Cassatt and her work.
Maybe because I've been reading so many picture-book biographies of women, my expectations were too high..but, the details of her life were....lifeless. I love Cassatt, but never felt like the author and illustrator found her heart and passion... ...more
Heather Jo
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: meggie-list
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jo Oehrlein
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
On Mary Cassatt and her unusual choice to become a painter, moving to Paris and painting what interested her. Features Degas and how she joined up with the Impressionists.
Jorge Arturo Olay Guzmán
Not enough info

Book does not count with enough information, it is very basic bio, you can find more info on Internet though
Tori Stapleton
Picture book. This delightful picture book portrays Mary Cassatt in a strong and inspiring pay. The illustrations match the tone of impressionistic painting beautifully.
Brenna Longenecker
Plot Summary:
This picture book is a biography about a woman named Mary Cassatt who knew she would be an artist at a very young age. However, in 1860, there were very few women who were artists. When she was 16, she wanted to enroll in art school. She then travelled to Paris to continue her studies even though her father didn’t believe in her. Then, the great Degas asked her to join their team. She was so excited knowing she could paint as she pleased. She painted whatever she saw. Her family the
The text and outstanding illustrations, created with gouache, watercolor, acrylics, enamel, and tempera, highlight one of my favorite Impressionist artists. Young readers will enjoy learning about the personality and determination of the young Mary Cassatt as well as her inclination to do things her own way, even painting. Because artists tended to be males during her time, her decision to pursue her passions was unusual. Young readers may be curious to learn more about Edgar Degas and his paint ...more
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
I haven't seen too many good books on Mary Cassatt for kids and Cassatt is one of those great accessible artists for kids because there are so many kids in her paintings. This book has a decent biography going on but the analysis of the art is terrible. The book misses an opportunity to explain why her palette was so different, more modern, and of the influence of Asian art in her work. Furthermore, the book focuses too much on how the fact that she was a woman kept her from getting acclaim from ...more
Cheriee Weichel
May 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is a decadent visual and lyrical treat. It begs to be read out loud. Here is an example of the lush language: "Mary grew up tall and temperamental, the map of her fate etched in her mind.'"Mary swept jewel tones across her canvas. She rendered cropped angles, sparkling light."
Cassatt was influenced by Degas, and other impressionists. With their encouragement and support, she came into her own as a painter who "celebrated mothers and their babies in her paintings."
Gabi Swiatkowska's il
Christina Getrost
Paintings in gouache, watercolor, acrylic, enamel and tempera, a real mixed media--but they definitely imitate Mary Cassatt's style of work. The book is mostly about her life as painter, does not focus on her childhood, just that she knew she wanted to be an artist since childhood, and that she was "temperamental" and determined to succeed at it. Born in Pennsylvania but moved to Europe to study and live. Book includes list of sources, but direct quotations are not sourced. ...more
Teresa Edmunds
May 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Before you start this book, you have to keep in mind that it is meant for young readers. Mary's life is simply told without too many details (there is a more detailed biography in the back). Mary knew she wanted to be an artist from a young age and never let anything or anyone get in the way of becoming who the artist she wanted to be. Though light on detail, the book still tells the story of a determined, successful woman whose influence is still felt across the world. ...more
Ro Menendez
Oct 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This literary nonfiction biography about Mary Cassatt showcases this female artist as a courageous spirit who defied society's rules when they stood in the way of achieving her dreams because of her gender. The narrative focuses on Cassatt's headstrong ways and her indomitable spirit when it came to critiques. The Author's Note is an expository counterpart to what the reader learns through the narrative. ...more
Oct 26, 2015 rated it liked it
A wonderful biography of an artist who I knew a little bit about and was pleased to learn more about. Mary Cassatt was another example of someone who wasn't going to let the world put her in a place. She knew what she wanted and went for it- with a little help from some fellow artists. And the world was made more beautiful because of it. Gorgeous illustrations. ...more
Really a lovely book about an artist I admire. I like the illustrations of this book, with the salutes to her actual paintings. Also, the author does a fine job in sketching her character with very few, carefully chosen words. If I were to read this as a young child, it would paint a beginning background of this artist and make me want to learn more.
Good brief text informational book about Mary Cassatt's life. One will definitely understand that Cassatt was a pioneer woman in the male dominated world of art. Several of her paintings were used as illustrations in the text. The fact I was unaware of that Cassatt was born in Pennsylvania. ...more
A picture book bio that is perfectly suited to its intended audience and serves as a great introduction to an important Impressionist painter.

Gouache, watercolors, acrylics, enamel, and tempera illustrations are rendered in a style similar to that of the subject. Great read aloud for PreK-2+ with an author's note and sources.
Jan 03, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book but...

I liked this book very much. The subject matter was very interesting, but the print was way too small with no way to adjust it. I love to read on the kindle because I can adjust the print. Unfortunately, I had to read this book with a magnifying glass. Fortunately, it was a short book. Making the print adjustable would give it 5 stars.
Dec 04, 2015 rated it liked it
The painted illustrations are very nice, and I enjoyed learning about Mary Cassatt; however, the vocabulary is very advanced for the format.
Emma Kantor
Dec 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Fascinating subject and Impressionist-inspired illustrations. Wish that Asian art wasn't labeled 'exotic.' (Maybe this is Cassatt's POV?) ...more
Dec 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: art, nf-narrative
I would have liked more detail.
Joan Marie
Feb 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Sparse text reveals her spunk in pursuing her dream of being an artist. Excellent back matter; longer that the story.
Fascinating. I never knew anything about Mary Cassatt. What an interesting woman.
Mar 06, 2016 rated it liked it
2.5 stars
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