Who better than the inimitable, brilliant Anthony Browne to create a picture book about another brilliant artist, Frida Kahlo? And what a wonderful and surreal (it is Anthony Browne after all) story he tells. It was inspired by her ‘magic friendship’ and her “The Two Fridas’ self-portrait that she painted in 1939.
From the start our young narrator Frida says, her physical difference made her an outsider, often lonely but not unhappy at being ‘separate’, which she quite liked.
The wish to fly filled both her night-time dreams and her daydreams but her birthday dream of a toy plane is dashed when instead her parents give her a pair of wings. Rather than show her disappointment, alone in her room the young girl lets her imagination take flight.
She runs and runs and when all her energy is spent she stops by a dairy. Finding no way in, she’s about to return home, another door opens,
cascading her down, down to the earth’s depths and there she meets a strange but seemingly familiar girl.
This girl then begins a magnificent dance of life and while she does so, Frida shares with her, her own secret worries
and a close friendship is forged.
All too soon the time comes for Frida to bid farewell to her friend from the dairy and return to her own reality a much happier child than before, and ready to begin her artistry with a paintbrush.
Iconic Frida truly was, so too in his own way is, Anthony Browne. Allowing the imagination to take flight and soar so you become free is what Frida did and what Anthony has done here in his magnificent magical scenes, every one of which is packed with images that will inspire in readers further flights of their own fancy.
I’d love to show every single illustration but to see the rest, you will need to get your own copy of this stunning, out-of-this-world picture book.