Brave Jane Austen Reader, writer, author, rebel

Lisa Pliscou

Book - 2018

This picture book biography of the groundbreaking female novelist Jane Austen, recognized as one of the most important and influential writers of all time, is ideal for Women's History Month. Full color.

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jBIOGRAPHY/Austen, Jane
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New York : Christy Ottaviano Books, Henry Holt and Company 2018.
Main Author
Lisa Pliscou (author)
Other Authors
Jen Corace (illustrator)
First edition
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Includes bibliographical references.
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

*Starred Review* The J. K. Rowling quote on the cover is excellent incentive to pick up this picture-book biography: Jane Austen is the pinnacle to which all other authors aspire. What a grand introduction to the woman who penned Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and more. Pliscou points out how very revolutionary Austen was as a forerunner to all female writers who came after. An admirable and plucky girl, she lived quietly but confidently, penning masterpieces that even drew the admiration of the Prince Regent of England. Pliscou carefully lays the foundation for Austen's independence and talent: a family of writers, a childhood illness that led to a period of rest inhaling the books in her father's library, an ill-fated romance, and a marriage proposal she ultimately spurned since it lacked affection. Corace's simple illustrations are modern in their brightness, but owe much to the beribboned domestic art of Austen's time, and to the watercolors of Kate Greenaway. This thoughtful book would surely have pleased Austen, and readers enchanted by the way she graciously forged a way for women writers will appreciate the back matter, which includes more about Austen's time, her pen, the admiration of other authors, and directions to more info for eager learners. A beautifully crafted package to add to the growing list of biographies about women pioneers in art.--Cruze, Karen Copyright 2017 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

The life of Jane Austen, from her childhood to her death at age 41, unfolds in this cozy, pastoral story. Pliscou describes Austen's upbringing as loving, though affected by poverty and illness. Austen, who sought refuge in reading, subverted gender expectations even in her early writing efforts: "Were the girls in her stories sweet and obedient? Not at all!" Austen's refusal to marry a man who would have offered her comfort and stability-but not love-pivots into her publication of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice. In Corace's mixed-media artwork, Jane and other figures resemble rosy-cheeked ragdolls; botanical details, creeping vines, and feather motifs are repeated in outdoor and indoor scenes. A tender portrayal of an author whose ordinary circumstances led to an extraordinary legacy. Ages 7-10. Illustrator's agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 4-In this engaging picture book biography, Pliscou emphasizes young Jane Austen's power through a refrain: she "watched, listened, thought." Page by page, the author's sharply observed girlhood stories evolve into "funny, thoughtful" novels. Pliscou pays careful attention to the young woman's artistic development within her family's literary culture. If Austen is a brave rebel as the title suggests, her artistic vision is one that is always supported by her relatives. As Pliscou notes, a "girl who didn't marry was odd. A failure. Maybe both," yet she was able to remain unmarried and craft stories with complex female characters. Austen's successful single life, her clear-eyed attention to social interactions, and talent for storytelling are presented as an act of rebellion. This story of quiet courage is emphasized by Corace's watercolor illustrations. Blocks of solid color set off details of books in a shelf or a quilt. In one remarkable spread, delicate silhouettes of her ladylike routine are juxtaposed by snippets of text that note how, "in between all this," she continued to write. Supplementary material includes historical context, favorite Austen quotes, and further reading. For older Janeites, Pliscou has also written a YA biography, Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer. VERDICT An eye-catching primer for appreciating literature and a remarkable woman.-Katherine Magyarody, Texas A&M University, College Station © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review

Pliscou's lengthy picture-book biography, for slightly older primary readers, provides an overview of Jane Austen's writing and personality and offers historical context. Small details emphasize the bravery it took for Austen to go against the norm and still achieve success. The decorative folk-art aesthetic of Corace's colorful gouache, ink, acrylic, and pencil illustrations evokes styles common amongst the gentry during Regency England, nicely complementing Pliscou's account. Bib. (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

This brief biography of Jane Austen describes her life and notes the hardships and expectations she overcame to become a published author.Pliscou paints a vivid picture of the world Jane was born into, from the physical environment of home and village to the strictures on women's accomplishments and experiences. The relatively lengthy text flows smoothly. It details the hardships that Jane and her family faced, from financial difficulties both before and after her father's death to Jane's survival of (and long, book-filled recuperation from) a serious illness, and emphasizes that despite these challenges Jane was dedicated to perfecting her craft. Corace's illustrations, created using gouache, ink, acrylic, and pencil, have a stylized look and a relatively limited, somewhat subdued palette. They effectively evoke the historic period and include a nod to a popular decorative style of the day in an attractive double-page spread of silhouettes that conveys Jane's determination as she "read, sewed, planned menuswent to parties, helped to take care of her parents, andkept on writing her funny, thoughtful stories." As Deborah Hopkinson and Qin Leng do in Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen (2018), Pliscou introduces a revered author for adults to an audience who has likely never heard of her; as recorded here, Austen's quiet life doesn't give children much to latch onto.An appealing, lively portrait that may nonetheless fail to pique the interest of many in the intended audience. (author's note, quotations, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 7-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.