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California Dreamin’: Cass Elliot Before The Mamas & The Papas (First Second Books) 

My first memory of the artist known as Cass Elliot was hearing her sing out that I should “sing your own special song” on the track ‘Make Your Own Music’. There was a joyous quality to her voice, and the message of the song, that immediately hooked me.

Cass Elliot was a force of vocal talent and blind determination whose eyes were set on the goal of becoming famous. At least, that is the Cass Elliot that is presented in Pénélope Bagieu’s beautiful graphic novel ‘California Dreamin’: Cass Elliot Before the Mamas & The Papas.’

Building upon the historical outlines of Cass Elliot’s life, Bagieu imbues new life into the 60s icon by interpreting her relationships to her family, friends, and love interests. The graphic novel begins with Cass Elliot’s early years in Baltimore and takes the reader through high school, the New York City folk scene, and the burgeoning rock scene of California. The book ends before the birth of Elliots’ daughter or her untimely death. The focus of the book is on the power of Elliot’s personality and drive in fueling her path to stardom, and steers clear of the clichés associated with the late 1960s.

Kim Hornak is the Membership Coordinator at Broken Pencil. 

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