New in the Biographic Series

Biographic Picasso
Natalie Price-Cabrera
Biographic Audrey
Sophie Collins
Biographic Marilyn
Katie Greenwood
Biographic Marley
Liz Flavell
Biographic Beatles
Viv Croot
Ammonite Press

Here’s a look at five new titles in the enormously engaging Biographic series that features great people and their lives through infographics.

Natalie Price-Cabrera looks at the life and art of Pablo Picasso dividing it into four sections, Life, World, Work and Legacy and this same structure is used for the other titles too.

Picasso was most definitely a boundary breaker and I love his comment quoted in the book, “My mother said to me, ‘If you are a soldier, you will become a general. If you are a monk, you will become the pope.’ Instead, I was a painter and became Picasso.” We’re given a look at what was going on in various parts of the world in 1881 when he was born; a family tree (again a feature of all the books except the Beatles) and several time lines.

Pretty much everyone knows that Picasso was a pioneer of Modernism but did you know that his full name has 20 words in all? Or that he’s currently THE most stolen artist in the world clocking up 1,147 artworks that have gone missing ; that’s out of the total of more than 150,000 he created during his life. Wow!

Next is the totally cool fashion icon, movie star winner of an Emmy, an Oscar, a Grammy and a Tony, Audrey Hepburn presented by Sophie Collins. I was amazed to learn that she spoke 6 languages – English, Dutch, Flemish, French, Italian and Spanish, speaking in all of them on behalf of UNICEF. She was supposedly able to talk to animals too. She broke her back after being thrown from a horse while filming The Unforgiven, and she once had a pet deer called Pippin. Seemingly animals played quite a part in her life.

Katie Greenwood’s choice of icon is movie star Marilyn Monroe, born 3 years earlier than Audrey Hepburn but sadly had a much shorter life, dying at just 36 from barbiturate poisoning. Amazing to think that she was reading To Kill a Mockingbird at the time of her death, having been born in the same year as its author, Harper Lee.

On a happier note, Marilyn was at one time THE most famous movie star on the planet. Moreover, she performed 10 shows during the course of 4 days to 100, 000 troops serving in Korea in 1954.

I’m a huge fan of the music of singer/songwriter Bob Marley, Liz Flavell’s subject for her latest musician Biographic. As with the other titles, this one is full of fascinating bits and pieces including that his music inspired some 7,000 prisoners of war to escape and that he was shot at twice while trying to bring about peace between two political groups.

Marley was almost as much in love with football as he was with music and would organise his musical tours to coincide with football matches in various parts of the world. Bob Marley was another icon who died far too young – at just 39 – from a brain tumour. More cheerfully, in 1980 to celebrate the independence of Zimbabwe, Bob performed before 40,00 people including Prince Charles, Robert Mugabwe and Indira Gandhi, forfeiting his fee so the gig could be free to everyone who attended.

Last and definitely not least, the most famous pop group of all time, The Beatles are presented by Viv Croot. It was interesting to be reminded of the array of musical traditions represented by 8 performers/groups as diverse as Ravi Shankar, the Everly Brothers, Bob Dylan and Ray Charles that influenced them. Imagine doing a television performance that is watched by 400 million viewers; but that is exactly what happened with their performance (with friends) of ‘All You Need is Love’ in June 1967.

Pretty well everyone has a favourite Beatles album: which is yours? Could it I wonder, be the one (released in May 1967) that includes all the song lyrics in the album artwork.

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