JOHN JAMES AUDUBON by Martha E. Kendall


Artist of the Wild
Age Range: 8 - 11
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 In the ``Gateway Green'' series of easy biographies, a clear but uninspired outline. Beginning with an attention-grabbing paragraph on the unusual contents of the young Audubon's pockets (eggs, frogs, nests) and his admiring stepmother's indulgence, Kendall falls into a choppy, awkward narrative; and though she includes incidents of interest to young readers, especially from the painter-naturalist's youth, she never develops much sense of his personality--not even the remarkable persistence, in the face of a growing family and continual economic disasters, that underlay his achievements. There are archival illustrations or color reproductions on almost every spread; captions indicate subjects but lack sufficient identification (is that Audubon's painting of phoebes? are these self-portraits?) and dates (does the painting--engraving?--of mountain lions belong to the period of The Vivaparous [sic] Quadrupeds of North America, or 30 years earlier, where it appears in the book?). Also, a definition of ``vivaparous [again sic] quadrupeds'' as ``four-legged animals that do not lay eggs'' seems unduly coy. Quibbles, perhaps; still, sloppiness is often symptomatic. Serviceable, then, but Kastner's somewhat more advanced and far more intelligent and informative John James Audubon (1992) is a better choice. (Biography. 8-11)

Pub Date: Feb. 15th, 1993
ISBN: 1-56294-297-2
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Millbrook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1993