Monday, May 24, 2010

Noonie's Masterpiece


Noonie Norton is a self-proclaimed brilliant artist.  She's creative, imaginative and all sorts of clever. She is also funny and brave and ... not the least bit humble. Noonie has a knack of misdirecting (according to the adults, anyway) her creativity and finding herself in all sorts of trouble, on a routine basis. Can she help it if she's just trying to make a big impact as an artist?      

Noonie's mom died when she was young, and her father didn't feel he was equipped to raise a daughter.  He made the hard decision to let Noonie live with her aunt (her mom's sister) and family, whom he felt could provide a more stable environment for a child. Noonie is too young to understand her father's decision and spends most of her time dreaming of the day her dad will come back for her. 
Noonie finds out about an art contest at school and feels like this could be her big break! Her painting will be truly amazing and everyone will realize the true artist that she has become. Then her dad will definitely come home and take her with him on all his travels. One little flaw in the plan - the contest rules state that paintings have to be of your own family. Noonie "temporarily" lives with her crazy wanna-be actor Uncle Ralph, her tooth obsessed dental hygienist Aunt Sylvia and weirdo Cousin Junior.  Is it possible to produce an award winning painting about them?    
Noonie has a stroke of genius and lots of support from her best friend Reno and her favorite teacher Ms. Lilly. She also discovers that her aunt and uncle only want the best for her while her dad is working. Noonie's painting may not win the contest, but along the way, she learns some really important lessons about her family and friends.   

Masterpiece is an appropriate description for this book.  It's witty and clever, funny and interesting - just like Noonie herself! Best of all, the pages are brimming with glorious illustrations.  It's quirky and wonderfully different from most youth books. I fell in love with the writing in this book.  Lisa writes such things like "Mrs. Tusk and I were opposites.  She was numbers, and I was pictures." 

Check out the trailer below to get an even better feel for the book!  One tiny detail - I didn't like the voice that narrated the video.  It didn't match up with the Noonie in my head.  So if you find that voice a tiny bit grating, don't hold it against the book!

Review copy provided by Chronicle Books.

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