Books by Robyn Montana Turner

TEXAS TRADITIONS by Robyn Montana Turner
Released: April 1, 1996

In a work subtitled ``The Culture of the Lone Star State,'' Turner (Faith Ringgold, 1993, etc.) makes clear that Texas is really the product of many cultures and looks at the contributions of Native Americans, Mexicans, Europeans, Anglo-Americans, African- Americans, and Asian-Americans as ``threads of a finely woven blanket'' that add ``beauty and interest to the whole.'' Turner succinctly limns each group's history, noting, for example, that by the time Europeans landed on Texas's shore in 1528, 12 Native American groups were already well established. She is not as generous, however, in tracing the long history of Mexico and Texas, stating simply that before Texas became a republic and a state, ``it was a part of Mexico.'' She later focuses on Texas's fight for independence from Mexico through the battles of the Alamo and at San Jacinto, and the ultimate triumph of the ``ideas, beliefs, and values of the Texas culture.'' There is no mention of the current cultural climate that sets her perspective against one that suggests the state's revolutionary leaders were land-grabbers. Children will be more interested in the full-color photographs and illustrations that make chapters on art, celebrations, and education visually exciting. They'll find this book useful for reports. (maps, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 9+) Read full book review >
FAITH RINGGOLD by Robyn Montana Turner
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

Turner continues her well-regarded series of ``Portraits of Women Artists'' with an introduction to the Caldecott Honor medalist Ringgold, whose picture-book illustrations are a direct extension of her paintings, fabric constructions, and (especially) the vibrant story quilts that powerfully re-create her African-American heritage. In outlining Ringgold's life, the author includes childhood details and b&w photos that will interest young readers, but—perhaps respecting the artist's privacy—doesn't convey her dynamic individuality; but in some detail, Turner explore's Ringgold's ideas, as expressed in her art, including several high-quality color reproductions (fully attributed) plus schematic drawings that identify the figures represented. (Biography. 6-10) Read full book review >
FRIDA KAHLO by Robyn Montana Turner
Released: April 1, 1993

An attractive fourth entry in Turner's ``Portraits of Women Artists for Children.'' Efficiently, the author uses her large (8 1/2'' x 11'') format to outline the most important themes in Kahlo's life and convey the flavor of her work. The 14 beautifully reproduced paintings are a good sampling of styles and subjects, while the many photos are also well chosen. The heart of Turner's text is her discussion of the paintings; whether realistic or surreal, Kahlo's art is powerfully symbolic, and Turner does a good job of relating the symbols to the life. Among vital influences on Kahlo's work, her Mexican heritage and marriage to Rivera are emphasized; thornier issues—Kahlo and Rivera's tortuous relationship, her political beliefs, her lifelong poor health—are merely touched on. Still, a good introduction to this fascinating painter and woman. Commendably, the sources, media, and dimensions of the paintings are all included in their captions. (Biography. 8-12) Read full book review >
GEORGIA O'KEEFFE by Robyn Montana Turner
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

First in the new ``Portraits of Women Artists for Children'' series, a brief survey of O'Keeffe's life and work. Turner writes intelligently about the evolution of O'Keeffe's distinctive style and subject matter, emphasizing the difficulties women faced in getting an education in art and in being taken seriously as artists at the turn of the century. Biographical details are more cursory but adequate. Illustrated with representative examples of paintings and well-chosen photos. An attractive introduction. (Biography. 8-12) Read full book review >
ROSA BONHEUR by Robyn Montana Turner
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

In the same format as Georgia O'Keeffe (above), a biography of a painter (1822-99) known for her animal paintings in the realistic Academy style, whose subjects, drama, and often heroic treatment have special appeal for the young. The emphasis on the problems faced by women artists is repeated here; the text is informative but undistinguished (and it's ridiculous to state that the French Bonheur learned her letters by noticing that ``C'' stood for ``cow'' and ``B'' for ``bird''). Still, an adequate introduction to an artist of merit. (Biography. 8-12) Read full book review >