California Dreamin’: Cass Elliot Before The Mamas & the Papas

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Author: Bagieu Pénélope

Brand: First Second

Edition: Illustrated


  • First Second

Format: Illustrated

Package Dimensions: 26x222x510

Number Of Pages: 272

Release Date: 07-03-2017

Details: Product Description

California Dreamin’ from Pénélope Bagieu depicts Mama Cass as you’ve never known her, in this poignant graphic novel about the remarkable vocalist who rocketed The Mamas & the Papas to stardom. Before she was the legendary Mama Cass of the folk group The Mamas and the Papas, Ellen Cohen was a teen girl from Baltimore with an incredible voice, incredible confidence, and incredible dreams. She dreamed of being not just a singer but a star. Not just a star―a superstar. So, at the age of nineteen, at the dawn of the sixties, Ellen left her hometown and became Cass Elliot.At her size, Cass was never going to be the kind of girl that record producers wanted on album covers. But she found an unlikely group of co-conspirators, and in their short time together this bizarre and dysfunctional band recorded some of the most memorable songs of their era. Through the whirlwind of drugs, war, love, and music, Cass struggled to keep sight of her dreams, of who she loved, and―most importantly―who she was.

From School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up—Long before she was a singing icon, Ellen Cohen was a middle child in an average Baltimore family. Shortly after finishing high school, she went full-force into her quest to become a musical star, adopting the moniker Cass Elliot. Set primarily against the backdrop of the 1960s, this book begins as an exciting discovery of an emerging talent but concludes as a somber examination of themes such as lust, body image, family, and broken hearts. Bagieu injects the melancholy, chaotic account of Elliot’s young adulthood with vibrancy. The lack of coloration, the light pencil work, and the long, swooping strokes imbue the narrative with a frenetic sense of motion, evoking the feeling of beat poetry. Although this is a biography—complete with a bibliography—the author crafts story arcs out of the singer’s past to closely emulate the pacing of fiction, making this selection approachable for those unfamiliar with Elliot’s group, the Mamas and the Papas. Bagieu tells the tale through the perspectives of those around Elliot, leaving readers to form their own opinions about her. Because of the depiction of drug use and the inclusion of some nudity, this title is more appropriate for mature readers. VERDICT Recommended for older teen collections, this superb addition is sure to be a future graphic novel classic.—Matisse Mozer, Los Angeles Public Library


“[Bagieu’s] drawings are suffused with delight . . . Exuberance and sadness coexist in her drawing style, as they coexist in the character of Cass Elliot―whose every moment of joy and perseverance seem to overlay deep loneliness and vulnerability.” ―The New York Times“If a graphic novel can be thought of like a three-minute pop song, then French author Penelope Bagieu wisely holds a beautiful epiphany well past the two-minute mark. The timing is sublime.” ―The Washington Post”Bagieu’s drawings are superlative: soft pencil lines that convey detail without constraining her figures and that animate the characters’ exuberant facial expressions.” ―The Paris Review”Bagieu’s drawings bring Cass brilliantly to life, making her look full of energy and life ― and incredibly fashionable as well.” ―Bust”…this graphic novel brings her [Cass Elliot] story to life in vibrant color. ” ―Bustle”Recommended for older teen collections, this superb addition is sure to be a future graphic novel classic.” ―School Library Journal, starred review”Her pencil-sketched characters are distinctive and emotive (and occasionally high and big-eyed), while their lively world is storybookcute and highly referential to the music Cass made so familiar.” ―BooklistPraise for Exquisite Corpse:”Pénélope Bagieu has mastered a magic trick, and it is this: Somehow, even as she suspends our disbelief, she can turn paper into flesh. And ink becomes lifeblood…her characters not only breathe and pulsate with vivid life. They also seem entirely, organically authentic in their own