Beauty, Art, Music in Literature Books Early Readers Features Genre Lifespan of a Reader Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes

[Nonfiction Wednesday] Shy Sylvette (With The Ponytail) and Picasso

Another book in "Anholt's Artists" series.

Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2018 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.

I am thoroughly enjoying Laurence Anholt’s artist series with the young children whom the featured artists have befriended or encountered in their lives. Thus far, we have featured Vincent Van Gogh and his friendship with the young boy Camille, Frida Kahlo and her lovely friendship with the brave girl Mariana. This time around, I have Picasso and the shy girl Sylvette with the famous ponytail.


Picasso And The Girl With A Ponytail

Written and Illustrated by Laurence Anholt
Published by B. E. S. Publishing (1998).
ISBN: 0764150316 (ISBN13: 9780764150319)
Borrowed through inter-library loan. Book photos taken by me.

This being the third Laurence Anholt book that I have reviewed for our current reading theme, one of the things I realized is the fact that artists such as Picasso and Van Gogh lived and were inspired by the beauty of South of France. Picasso apparently lived here sometime in 1954 where he met the shy and beautiful teenager Sylvette David.

More than anything, I enjoyed how Anholt was able to capture Picasso’s free spirit, his exuberance for life, juxtaposed with Sylvette’s quiet and simplicity.

The Afterword indicated that Sylvette became Picasso’s muse for a time, as he produced more than 40 images of The Girl With A Ponytail and even created two concrete sculptures of Sylvette “each as big as a house” built according to Picasso’s specifications and design.

Yet, over and above Picasso’s productivity during the time that he was good friends with Sylvette – was the fact that this enduring friendship also served as some kind of mentorship for Sylvette who wanted to become an artist herself.

While most people would perhaps dream of becoming a muse to a world-renowned artist, it was the shy Sylvette with the ponytail who captured Picasso’s eye. Truth be told, this story prompted me to discover even more about this period in Picasso’s life. Perhaps in another book?


#LitWorld2018GB Update: Setting of the book is in the South of France.

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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Singapore. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she serves as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads or meeting up with her book club friends, she is smashing that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life.

1 comment on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] Shy Sylvette (With The Ponytail) and Picasso

  1. This relationship is unknown to me, Myra. I think I know so little about Picasso. Thanks for sharing. I’m sure it will be in my library!

    Liked by 1 person

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