Review: A Party for Florine: Florine Stettheimer and Me

A Party for Florine: Florine Stettheimer and Me

written and illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg

Neal Porter Books (imprint of Holiday House), 2024

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Karin Fisher-Golton

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In author-illustrator Yevgenia Nayberg’s A Party for Florine, a young artist visits a museum and sees something of herself in a self-portrait of Jewish-American painter Florine Stettheimer (1871–1944). The girl narrator is inspired to learn more, which makes for a natural flow into an overview of Stettheimer’s life as an artist. The story returns to the child’s world with her bountiful, imaginative ideas for the party she would like to throw for Florine. The resulting book is both a brief biography and an exuberant look into the mind of a creative child. As the child narrator concludes, “the world around me is full of color and full of surprise.” These qualities are depicted throughout the story, with goodies like “the famous artist Marcel Duchamp, so limber and elegant in his tiny black shoes” and “a squirrel dragging a cinnamon bagel.”

Readers can see Stettheimer’s art in four different paintings in the end papers plus a self-portrait in the informative author’s note. The book’s text sometimes appears at angles, on curves, and in dialog bubbles, which fits its fanciful tone. Nayberg’s illustrations are original and engaging—as always—in her own bold, whimsical style, incorporating colors and elements from Stettheimer’s work.

Jewish content is minimal—only that the young narrator is partially drawn to the self-portrait because she sees that Stettheimer is Jewish like herself. For this reason, though this book is worthy of awards, it’s not likely a contender for a Sydney Taylor Book Award.

A Party for Florine would be welcome and useful in elementary school art classrooms and other classrooms exploring art. One spread that could be the basis for discussion contrasts Stettheimer’s strict art teacher with the narrator’s teacher, who is so positive that the narrator isn’t sure what to believe. It’s enticing to imagine a project where students explore an artist and write or draw about the party that they would throw for that person. A Party for Florine will also be enjoyed in homes with young artists and/or families who love art.

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Karin Fisher-Golton is a freelance children’s book editor and the author of the board book My Amazing Day: A Celebration of Wonder and Gratitude; retellings of folktales for a reading program; and poems in several anthologies. She is a member of the Board of Advisors for Read Your World, the organization that hosts Multicultural Children’s Book Day. Read more about Karin’s work at


  1. Terrific review, Karin. Makes me really want to read this.


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