In the painting The Dance Class, Degas captured for posterity a yellow-sashed dancer scratching her back. How embarrassing. Eva Montanari makes this dancer the central character of her book Chasing Degas. After a rehearsal, the young dancer finds that Degas has left his bag of paints in the dance studio. She chases all over Paris after Degas, knowing that she must get back to the Opera House in time for that night's performance.
Along the way our dancer meets other artists: Renoir teaches the dancer about seeing color, Cassatt is busy painting her famous Little Girl in a Blue Armchair, Monet bemoans the changing light.
Several of the Paris scenes are cleverly inspired by famous Impressionist paintings (they are identified in the author's note). Montanari's Impressionist-style illustrations are lovely. I'm not knowledgeable enough to deduce if they are pastels or pencils -- maybe a combination. Fortunately she doesn't just try to copy Degas' style, but lets her own vision shine through.
A charming book to introduce Paris as The City of Artists.
Read an interview with the author at Seven Impossible Things (includes images of Montanari's other art, too).
Visit the author's web page.
Big Kid says: This book is for girls, it has ballet in it. [Mom hides her head in shame.]