Rosa’s Animals

The Story of Rosa Bonheur and Her Painting Menagerie.
By Maryann Macdonald

Ages 8-12. Abrams Books for Young Readers

How many artists keep pet lions? Rosa Bonheur had three. In many ways, she had a very unusual life, especially for a woman in the 19th century. She trained as an artist with her father during a time when women were rarely allowed to go to art school. She loved animals, kept her own private “zoo,” and taught herself about animal anatomy by sketching at a slaughterhouse. She got a special permit to wear men’s clothing so that she could sketch in public places where women were not admitted. Rosa became one of the most famous female artists of her time, and dolls were even made in her image.


A Junior Literary Guild gold star winner.
Best Children’s Books of 2019, Bank Street


“An elegant, insightful portrait of an artist worth knowing.”

(Kirkus Reviews)

“Take note of this biography of an extraordinary painter”

(School Library Connection)

“High-definition, full-page reproductions of her artwork, as well as supporting historical information about the era in which Bonheur lived, make this an accessible portrait of the artist.”

(School Library Journal)

“Macdonald pares Rosa’s biography down to accessible chapters, highlighting such interest-sparking details as the artist’s need for documented permission to dress as a man to attend horse fairs and the mid-century portrait dolls modeled after her that became something of a rage. Plentiful, generously scaled reproductions of Bonheur’s work and that of several contemporaries will lure in browsers, and discussion of the Impressionist movement that drove Realism from the field adds important context.”

(The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)

“A historically rich chronicle of artist Rosa Bonheur’s life.”

(Publishers Weekly)