A Starred Review for A Storm of Horses!
“Inspired by watching her father at work, young Rosa Bonheur dreamed of creating her own paintings and supporting herself someday. It was an unconventional, impractical notion in nineteenth-century France, but with her father’s guidance and her talent and determination, she succeeded. She was in her teens when her paintings were first exhibited at the Paris Salon. After receiving an exemption from the law forbidding women to wear men’s clothing so she could go unnoticed in men-only spaces, she learned anatomy not just from books, but by viewing skeletons at medical schools, visiting slaughterhouses, and attending horse markets where women were usually not allowed. The book showcases Bonheur’s creation of her masterpiece, The Horse Fair. Perhaps Sanderson, one of the few contemporary children’s book illustrators who sometimes paints in oils and often includes realistic depictions of animals, feels a kinship with Bonheur, who after extensive research and planning, spent a year ‘expressing her love of horses in oil paint on canvas’ (a reference to The Horse Fair). The book’s back matter includes a bibliography of books on drawing horses, reproductions of five Bonheur paintings, and a list of museums displaying her works worldwide. With a clearly written narrative and beautifully composed oil paintings, this picture book offers a memorable introduction to Rosa Bonheur.”—Booklist, starred review