Gail Stavitsky/Katherine Rothkopf
Cézanne and American Modernism (Montclair/BMA)
The catalogue accompanying the BMA's Cézanne show, which opened last month, elegantly expands upon the premise that Cézanne was nothing less than a beacon for many American modernists. The show was co-curated by Kathy Rothkopf, the BMA's senior curator of European pinting and sculpture, and her essay about the Cone sisters' role in all this helps explain Cézanne's influence among U.S. artists, especially painters. But it's pieces like art historian Ellen Handy's essay, speculating on Cezanne's impact on photography, that are most intriguing. Cézanne may have influenced the likes of Edward Steichen? Even Man Ray? Such a notion adds yet another dimension to the enjoyment of the show.
Laura Amy Schlitz
The Night Fairy (Candlewick)
For the follow-up to 2008's Newberry-winning Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village, Schlitz drew inspiration from students at The Park School, where she's a librarian. Apparently, many of the girls adore fairies. Referring to them, in her author's bio, as "the future wild women of America," Schlitz says, "I couldn't help thinking that these little girls who love fairies deserve something lively." She certainly delivered on that, with the story of Flory, a young fairy who loses her wings and is forced to confront the dangers of the world around her. Early on, Schlitz sets a pitch-perfect tone: "Young fairies have no one to take care of them," she writes, "because fairies make bad parents. Babies bore them. A fairy godmother is an excellent thing, but a fairy mother is a disaster." She sustains it for the rest of the book and crafts a story that will even appeal to those of us who aren't inherently drawn to books with acorn-sized protagonists.