Books by Ellen Stern

HIRSCHFELD by Ellen Stern
Released: Oct. 10, 2017

"As the first substantive biography of Hirschfeld, this will be welcomed by art and Broadway lovers alike."
An in-depth biography of America's "line king" caricaturist. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 2004

"Ought to be required reading for anyone looking to buy a suit or a tie—or, for that matter, a workshirt. (16-page color insert, not seen)"
A lively, confident memoir seriously explores the realities of the fashion industry, leavening its nuts-and-bolts acumen with personal warmth and just enough of the trade's time-tested potshots. Read full book review >
I SAW A BULLFROG by Ellen Stern
Released: April 22, 2003

Stern showcases unusual facility at naturalistic depiction, but like the 11 imaginary animal hybrids that appear here, the result overall is neither fish nor fowl. Though she smoothly carries off the melding of bull and frog into "bullfrog," and tiger and shark into "tiger shark," other combinations, such as those for the goose barnacle, the deer mouse, and the rat snake, look like cut-and-paste jobs. Nor is there consistency in the accompanying verses, either in quality—"I saw a bullfrog perched on a lily. / He was bigger than it, so he looked sort of silly"—or in message, as some are straight descriptions, some speculate about whether the animals would use one set of mismatched appendages or the other, and some earnestly make the point that the creature opposite doesn't really exist. Stern closes with small black-and-white portraits of the actual animals, plus a few facts. The failure here is not in quality of art, but of imagination; next to Jack Prelutsky's Scranimals, or Sarah Perry's If— (1995), too many of these creations just fall flat. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1994

Among the more amusing facts in this cultural history of the telephone is that, back in the old days, women were called upon to be telephone operators because boys, who initially had the jobs, ``were ill-suited to the delicate work of telephony. Rowdy and restless, they took pleasure in insulting callers, pulling pranks, and crossing wires.'' Filled with movie stills and posters, ads, and text from all kinds of sources, this lively documentary is less concerned with the evolving technology of the telephone than with the way it has been used and represented. Maxwell Smart's shoe phone is here, as is an excerpt from Nicholson Baker's Vox, as Stern (Best Bets, not reviewed) and Gwathmey (Wholly Cow!, not reviewed) rush happily from Alexander Graham Bell to the age of the fax-modem. Still, there's probably a good argument to be made that the pranks of punk kids were preferable to the icy contempt of voice mail. Read full book review >