Reviews for Fabulous : A Portrait of Andy Warhol

Booklist Reviews 2011 June #1
*Starred Review* Andy Warhol was an unlikely fellow to ever be tagged fabulous. Shy, sickly, and labeled a "sissy," Warhol could only imagine a life of glamour. But imagine he did, with pictures of celebrities on the wall to inspire him and his own artistic talents to push him to New York City after graduating college. There, Warhol was able to find success as an illustrator, but he hungered for more. He found fame and fortune as a chronicler of pop culture, using everyday objects as his subjects, as in his famous series of paintings featuring Campbell's soup cans. Christensen--who once performed with Warhol's "superstars" at the Actors Studio--does a masterful job of capturing her subject in just a few words. Readers will sympathize with the boy so unattractive he was called "Rudolph the red-nosed Warhola" and admire the perseverance that landed him in the limelight. The bursts of text are set against striking illustrations--collaged photo transfers on canvas, which were then painted in oil--that are a fitting homage to Warhol's art. In an author's note, Christensen shows another side of Warhol, who lived with his mother, attended church, and served dinners to the homeless. By making readers care about the young Andy, kids will be moved to explore his art, which is precisely the sort of relationship between biography and the real world that authors strive for. Christensen succeeds. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Fall
Profiling the "Prince of Pop Art" from his 1930s Pittsburgh childhood through the height of his fame in 1966, Christensen shows that Andy Warhol became a visionary artist through determination and hard work. Highly textured oil and collage illustrations, which incorporate "replicas" of Warhol's art, provide a solid backdrop to a life that came to seem, in later years, glitzy and unreal. Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2011 #4
"Paintings can make people mad, make them ask questions, make them see things differently." Profiling the "Prince of Pop Art" from his 1930s Pittsburgh childhood through the height of his fame in 1966, Christensen shows that Andy Warhol became a visionary artist through determination and hard work. A dusky cityscape unfolds across one early spread, with young Andy off to the side, head bowed over his sketchpad, drawing pictures of flowers. Christensen's highly textured oil and collage illustrations, which incorporate "replicas" of Warhol's art, provide a solid backdrop to a life that came to seem, in later years, glitzy and unreal. But before the soup cans and movie stars, the streamlined text reveals that Warhol took art classes and went to college and lived in cockroach-infested apartments. Some of the quirkiest tidbits are found in the author's note, as when Christensen mentions Warhol's "time capsules," the six hundred boxes full of junk he hoarded. Still, it's not a stretch to say that it wasn't Warhol's eccentricities that made him truly fabulous; it was his penchant for paying attention to and learning from everything around him. christine m. heppermann Copyright 2011 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2011 April #2

The "fabulous" life of Andy Warhol is made accessible and understandable via this child-friendly look at the life and career of one of America's most recognizable painters.

Shy, sickly Andy spent many lonely hours resting in bed. Warhol's mother understood his uniqueness, and instead of forcing him to attend school, stand up to bullies or play sports, she unfailingly nurtured his talents and accepted and supported his interests. Andy attended art classes at the Carnegie Museum art school in Pittsburgh and was encouraged by teachers who also recognized his promise. Comics, movie magazines, glamorous superstars and luminous icons from his Eastern Orthodox parish church fueled his imagination. Christensen effectively re-imagines Warhol's unmistakable style for 21st-century kids while offering a developmentally appropriate take on Warhol's life. She focuses on his early graphic work and the exciting, transformative era of Pop Art. She conveys the explosive impact of his Campbell's soup cans and Marilyn as she discretely limns the early activities of "The Factory."

Though readers will need to consult the backmatter for the details of the more complex and tumultuous years from the mid-'60s to his death in 1987, they will find this a vital and exciting child-appropriate introduction to an American icon. (Picture book/biography. 6-9)

Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Media Connection Reviews 2011 October
This biography of Warhol focuses on his youth and uses very little of his art, relying instead on mixed media to show Andy's surroundings. It begins in New York City in 1966, where Andy was a star, then flashes back to his beginnings in Pittsburgh, PA. Andy is portrayed as quiet and different, a good observer and very much true to himself. Once he left Pittsburgh, he found work as a commercial artist and then evolved into the well-known Andy Warhol. The book contains a lengthy author's note, bibliography and timeline and complements other Warhol biographies. Betsy Russell, Media Specialist, Bradley Elementary School, Columbia, South Carolina. ADDITIONAL SELECTION ¬ 2011 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 June #2

In an intimate biography of Andy Warhol, "Prince of Pop, King of Cool," Christensen spans a 30-year period--from the artist's upbringing in Pittsburgh to the height of his popularity in the 1960s--emphasizing a self-made rags-to-riches ascent. From early influences (religious icons, celebrities, comic books) and obstacles (including a disease that "caused muscle spasms and permanently blotchy skin" and relentless teasing) to his transition from commercial art to pop artist extraordinaire, Christensen's informal prose and heavily textured oil paintings, composed over photo collages, depict a man constantly absorbing everything around him and incorporating it into his art in a way that shocked and delighted the world. An author's note and a time line provide further detail into Warhol's later life. Ages 6-9. (May)

[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC

School Library Journal Reviews 2011 May

Gr 3-6--Spanning Warhol's rise to fame, this thoughtful account begins and ends with brief, fictionalized scenes that take place in 1966, illuminating the pop artist's popularity and success in contrast to the challenges he overcame to achieve recognition. The bulk of the narrative is fact-based, tracing major milestones in Warhol's personal and professional life through well-organized chronological flashbacks that start from his early childhood in the 1930s and continue through his days as an art student and his entry into the world of commercial art. Throughout, he is portrayed as a sensitive soul, often ridiculed by his peers. The differences between fine and commercial art, and Warhol's success in melding the two styles, are addressed in a way that is easy to understand even for someone with no background in art history. Christensen skillfully conveys emotion and mood through vivid, bold collage illustrations, particularly notable in an image of Warhol sitting forward in his train seat as New York City comes into view, anticipation made clear through his posture alone. According to the illustration note, "the paintings in this book are replicas of Andy's paintings, intended to give the reader a sense of his work and to inspire a museum visit to view the true originals." In addition to being a useful resource for biography reports, the story of Warhol's artistic triumphs despite his social difficulties will prove inspirational for young readers who feel as if they don't quite fit in.--Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CA

[Page 95]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.