Booklist starred (June 1, 2011 (Vol. 107, No. 19))
Grades 3-6. Andy Warhol was an unlikely fellow to ever be tagged fabulous. Shy, sickly, and labeled a “sissy,” Warhol could only imagine a life of glamour. But imagine he did, with pictures of celebrities on the wall to inspire him and his own artistic talents to push him to New York City after graduating college. There, Warhol was able to find success as an illustrator, but he hungered for more. He found fame and fortune as a chronicler of pop culture, using everyday objects as his subjects, as in his famous series of paintings featuring Campbell’s soup cans. Christensen—who once performed with Warhol’s “superstars” at the Actors Studio—does a masterful job of capturing her subject in just a few words. Readers will sympathize with the boy so unattractive he was called “Rudolph the red-nosed Warhola” and admire the perseverance that landed him in the limelight. The bursts of text are set against striking illustrations—collaged photo transfers on canvas, which were then painted in oil—that are a fitting homage to Warhol’s art. In an author’s note, Christensen shows another side of Warhol, who lived with his mother, attended church, and served dinners to the homeless. By making readers care about the young Andy, kids will be moved to explore his art, which is precisely the sort of relationship between biography and the real world that authors strive for. Christensen succeeds.