Okay! Ha! I've wanted to gush about this book for a long time, and now I'm finally going to do so! Yes!
I'll just cut to the point here. THIS BOOK IS PERFECT. I am a minor Audrey Hepburn nut. I've read every biography about her in the San Diego County library system. I've seen all but three of her movies (Monte Carlo Baby - she had, like, a teensy role - Always and Robin and Marion), and I could just scream I admire her so much. Heck, for a while I had a whole blog devoted to her.
And this book made me shriek when I looked through it for the first time. I almost danced. Julia Denos did the illustrations, and every detail is SPOT ON.
The expressions in the lineup above. As a girl, her dutch haircut and wide smile. The clothes she wore through the years. Heck! Even the sort of bump at the end of her jaw that you could see when she was older! I mean!? (I wonder if I'm being fanciful about this, but if you watch youtube videos of her en pointe and compare it with the feet in the book, they look identical. Not a lot of arch, if you know what I mean. It seems like almost too much, that. I have a hard time believing that anyone but a rabid fan like me would give so much attention to the details. This is why it is a marvelous book.) She got every detail right. Famous even makes an appearance.
I'm SO glad I was introduced to Julia Denos through this book - she's super cool. I want to be like her when I grow up - even if I don't become an illustrator! And if I do become an illustrator, I hope my studio is half as chic as hers is. She put pictures of it on her marvelous blog, and it makes me want to weep. Oh! Sudden fear: over the summer, did my desire for such a gorgeous workspace unconsciously plant the seed that became me declaring myself as an art major? Heavens.
Also - this is just going to be a Julia Denos worship fest post, isn't it? - she is doing illustrations for the Hilary McKay Casson books! GAAAA! Which are, like, some of the best books ever, no exceptions! Hilary McKay is a genius and I will someday read one of her books for this project thingy, and then I will get to do some more squealing. Yay. I can't even begin to babble about how EXCITED I am over the new packaging Denos is doing. You should see her "Crime Pays" sketch. This woman does her details right. I'm probably just a fanatic about it, but nothing annoyed me more as a kid - what I am I saying? Annoys me more than illustrations that don't match the story. Rant on the forthcoming.
SO. Buy this book. It is beautiful.
CONCLUSION: I hope I get to be an illustrator. I know that, if I did, my style would have to be different from Julia Denos' - as much as I love it - because I know I'd always be trying to ape her and failing. I'll have to do my own thing. Just like Audrey.