|What Isabella wanted : Isabella Stewart Gardner builds a museum|
Author: Fleming, Candace
The true story of Isabella Stewart Gardner's mission to turn her home into a unique art museum.
Kirkus Reviews (09/01/21)
School Library Journal (09/01/21)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (+) (00/07/21)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 09/01/2021 Gr 3–6—Isabella Stewart Gardner, who lived in Boston in the late 1800s, collected art and objects—lots and lots of art and objects. She was very spirited, loved adventure, and liked to stir things up a bit. On a trip to Europe in 1867, she was captivated by the art she saw and set about acquiring as much as she could, employing agents around the globe to procure the treasures she sought, often using devious or downright dishonest methods for obtaining them. It soon became clear she needed a much larger place to display everything, so she set about designing a four-story palazzo, devoting the first three floors to eclectic displays of art, objects, and everyday items that appealed to her, all of which she personally arranged, then shared with the public 20 days a year for $1 per person. Upon her death, she bequeathed her museum to the people of Boston on the condition that nothing be touched or rearranged. That held true until 1990, when thieves made off with over $500 million in art, none of which has ever been recovered. The text is written in free verse and gives a brief overview of Isabella's life and escapades. While the story itself does not call into question the ethics of her schemes for acquiring art, the more extensive back matter delves into it a bit while also filling in additional details about the palazzo and Isabella. Cordell's characteristic sketch lines, filled with mostly subdued colors, work to bring a historic feel to the story. Source notes, a bibliography, and the web address for the museum are provided. VERDICT This may have limited appeal outside the northeast, specifically the Boston area. It will no doubt be a fitting addition to the museum's gift shop.—Maggie Chase, Boise State Univ., ID - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 09/01/2021 Brash, extravagant, and very much in possession of her own mind, Isabella Stewart Gardner was a woman who lived life her own way at a time (1840–1924) when women were not encouraged to do so. Fleming and Cordell keep her independent spirit front and center as they proceed to describe her passion for collecting art, arranging it just so in her Boston mansion, and opening the doors of her home turned museum to the public. In busily lined, candy-colored illustrations, Cordell recreates the gallery-like rooms of Gardner’s house with Vermeer’s The Concert and Rembrandt’s The Storm recognizably on its most famous wall; but there are also scenes of her travels and spot art showing a great variety of pieces being added to her collection. Then, a blue tone covers the pages as the infamous and still-unsolved art theft occurs decades later, explaining the empty frames that hang in the museum today. Informative back matter provides additional details on Gardner’s life, unethical collecting practices of the time, and photos of the stolen Vermeer and Rembrandt. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.