An essential guide to the legacy of a well- and deservedly loved artist.

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THE WORLDS OF TOMIE DEPAOLA

THE ART AND STORIES OF THE LEGENDARY ARTIST AND AUTHOR

An illuminating, lavishly illustrated tribute to the works and talents of an iconic writer and illustrator, revised and updated in the wake of his death in March 2020.

Elleman adds books and illustrations published after her 1999 critical work, Tomie dePaola: His Art and His Stories, and reworks some of the original edition’s topical chapters, further buffing her already-lapidary analyses of how and why dePaola’s art works so well with the plethora of texts he illustrated and/or wrote over his long career. Playing to her strengths as an unexcelled observer and describer of picture-book art, she captures both visual and emotional ebbs and flows in dozens of works while raising critical points, such as complaints that too many of his pictures look alike, only so she can demolish them with barrages of counterexamples and well-chosen images of pages, page turns, and full spreads. Though dePaola is perhaps best known for drawing on his own background for authentic evocations of Italian and Italian American culture, Elleman commends his portrayals of diverse racial and ethnic characters in such works as his volume of Mother Goose rhymes. Sample pages of a picture book from first draft to finished layout present a revealing case study in his process, and an extended closing album of his “non-book” paintings offers convincing evidence of both his versatility and a distinctive style that shines through no matter the medium or subject. Specific biographical details are limited, but as Trina Schart Hyman writes in her introductory tribute (present in both this and the 1999 work), “the artist always draws or paints him- or herself, no matter what the subject and no matter what or how the approach.” Even devoted fans will come away knowing and liking dePaola more.

An essential guide to the legacy of a well- and deservedly loved artist. (endnotes, lists of publications and of awards, notes on art media, index) (Nonfiction. 12-adult)

Pub Date: March 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1226-2

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

A WEALTH OF PIGEONS

A CARTOON COLLECTION

The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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A lovely, sometimes challenging testament to the universality of human nature.

HUMANS

The creator of the hit internet series Humans of New York takes it global, chasing down a panoply of interesting stories.

In 1955, Edward Steichen staged a show called “The Family of Man,” a gathering of photographs that emphasized the commonality of humankind. Stanton’s project seemingly has much the same ambition. “You’ve created this magic little corner of the Web where people feel safe sharing their stories—without being ridiculed, or bullied, or judged,” he writes. “These stories are only honestly shared because they have a long history of being warmly received.” The ask is the hard part: approaching a total stranger and asking him or her to tell their stories. And what stories they are. A young Frenchwoman, tearful, recounts being able to see things from the spirit world that no one else can see. “And it’s been a very lonely existence since then,” she says. A sensible teenager in St. Petersburg, Russia, relates that her friends are trying to be grown-up, smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, whereas she wants to remain a child close to her parents: “I’d like these times to last as long as possible.” A few stories are obnoxious, as with a Dutch incel who has converted himself into a pickup artist and outright cad: “Of course it’s manipulation, but why should I care? I’ve been manipulated so many times in my life.” A great many stories, some going for several pages but most taking up just a paragraph or two, are regretful, speaking to dashed dreams and roads not taken. A surprising number recount mental illness, depression, and addiction; “I’d give anything to have a tribe,” says a beleaguered mother in Barcelona. Some are hopeful, though, such as that of an Iranian woman: “I’ve fallen in love with literature. I try to read for one or two hours every day. I only have one life to live. But in books I can live one thousand lives.”

A lovely, sometimes challenging testament to the universality of human nature.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-11429-7

Page Count: 448

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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