THE BOY WHO LOVED TO DRAW by Barbara Brenner

THE BOY WHO LOVED TO DRAW

Benjamin West
Age Range: 5 - 8
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A folk-art quality infuses Dunrea’s clean-lined and pleasing gouache illustrations for this highly appealing biography from Brenner (The Earth is Painted Green, 1994, etc.) on the childhood of America’s first world-famous artist, Benjamin West. Later in life, West would enjoy the patronage of King George III and friendships with men such as Benjamin Franklin, but the boy growing up on a Pennsylvania farm in the tag end of a family of ten showed few signs of what he would become. Three chapters relate pivotal moments in West’s boyhood; in the first, Benjamin is given the duty of rocking the cradle and flapping the flies away from a baby, but is seized by an intense desire to draw the child instead, resulting in an astonishingly recognizable drawing. A nicely executed section, “And Then What Happened?” collapses the rest of an illustrious career into two spreads, one of which provides some of the artist’s paintings, including his first, Landscape with Cow. A concluding spread simply and briefly provides bibliographic data. The glimpses of the artist’s development in this handsome book provides may be apocryphal autobiography from West himself (Brenner bases her incidents on his account of his childhood), but the charm and innocence of his delinquencies will attract readers. (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-395-85080-0
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 1999




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