Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bettina Valentino

I just received Bettina Valentino and the Picasso Club from the lovely people at Farrar, Strauss and Giroux. If the wonderfully colorful cover doesn't drag kids into the book, I don't know what will. Bettina is my new favorite quirky character! She has very unusual parents as well. In Bettina's school, her new art teacher, Mr. Popart, is inspiring great art and teaching the 5th graders about amazing artists. Bettina and some friends start The Picasso Club and create more outrageous art outside of school as well. All is fine until the quintessential uptight classmate goes home and tells her parents that the art teacher showed them "dirty pictures" from an art book. The climax erupts with parent meetings and Mr. Popart's "discipline" from in the hoity toity private school. But, Bettina is one of the most charismatic, spunky characters I've seen in Tween fiction in a long time. I loved her artistic style and her parents' down to earth attitude. This is a great Tween book and I can't wait to pass it on to my daughter!

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