viva frida + frida kahlo peg doll


viva-fridaViva Frida by Yuyi Morales, photography by Tim O’Meara (2014).


Morales has done something bold and extraordinary here. She’s created a book about Frida Kahlo, but instead of tackling her personal or artistic biography, she does something more unusual.







She strips away those details and gets at the core of Frida and tells that story. The woman. The artist. The creator. A woman who knew suffering and thus had great capacity for feeling. And, according to this rendering, she used those feelings to create.

frida-kahlo-picture-book(click image(s) to enlarge)

All that in just a few words scattered over the pages (both in English and Spanish).

A few words that capture the strength of this woman. The force.






But there are autobiographical details sprinkled throughout, visual ones. The pet monkey, Fulang-Chang. The wounded deer, like the ones she would paint her own head upon. Diego.


viva-frida-deerAnd I haven’t yet mentioned the art itself! It’s (primarily) photographed puppets! Puppets!! Stop motion dolls that are dazzling and cute and full of joy and life.


Yes, life. This is a book about the life of an artist. And it does an incredible job of capturing her distinct spirit. Violence and melancholy are noticeably absent from this depiction, but for me anyway, it’s almost like the creative process dwarfs those elements. In creating is the place of joy and freedom from suffering. In creating is life.


Thanks to Neal Porter Books for images!



(Here’s my post on Morales’s Niño Wrestles the World!)



As soon as I saw Kellie from The Kaleidosocope’s picture book inspired peg dolls (Flora and the Flamingo; Max from Where the Wild Things Are), I knew I wanted to collaborate with her! And by collaborate, I mean she makes a wonderful doll and I put up the pictures she takes!



A doll is a perfect companion to this book, full of doll-puppets. And isn’t it wonderful? Beautiful with a hint of darkness. Like Frida herself.







You can pre-order one from Kellie here! I hope you will.


Kellie graduated with a BFA in Fine Arts and minored in Child Development. She studied children’s literature and has always had a deep fondness for picture books. As a mom to four little boys, she gets to indulge and share this love of reading and illustrations.

When she isn’t reading, Kellie spends her time in the woods of British Columbia with her kids or painting wooden dolls.


Here is her shop with her other peg dolls and some fabulous pencils you’ll want to check out.

And here is her personal Instagram with kid and doll adventures.




5 Responses to viva frida + frida kahlo peg doll

  1. I think VIVA FRIDA is a perfect introduction picture book to Frida Kahlo for budding young artists. These images and words will dance in their heads when they are older and visit a museum or take an art course. I’m shelving this book next to another favorite, THE IRIDESCENCE OF BIRDS.

  2. Pingback: ursa's light + cookies from kellie at the kaleidoscope - This Picture Book Life

  3. I love this review! This looks like an amazing book, and your doll activity is lovely. Would you be interested in linking up this post to the Diverse Children’s Books Link-up? If so, you can find it at Thanks!

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