Bettina Valentino and the Picasso Club

Bettina Valentino and the Picasso Club

At the Bayside Preparatory School, otherwise known as "Blanche de Blaine's Academy for Slobs, Noodleheads, Nutters and the Madly Talented, Bettina is fighting an uphill battle against artistic limitations. She comes from a family of creative people-her father, a bold rapper ("Out of the way, Doris Day" or "How're things, fairy wings) and her mother, a fashion designer, who is "always practicing her French..in case she ever gets to Paris to do a show" ("au revoir mon petit bonbon").

At school, she is about to be liberated when her closed-minded art teacher moves on and is joyously replaced by Mr. Andrew Peppard-better known as Mr. Popart. The doors to the world of art are flung open and the children are enthusiastically introduced to dadaism and abstract art and the freedom to see the world through new eyes.

As thrilled as Bettina is, she is also worried that the school's limits will not be wide enough to include the fabulous Mr. P. Then, the art contest is announced and Bettina's friends form the Picasso Club to create a winning entry. Drama and energy fly from the pages of this humorous and inviting escapade. Multicultural to boot. ( A note: I could have done without the "Old Boobs" reference to a statue in the schoolyard.)

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