Kirkus Reviews QR Code


Paintings of Fun, Daring and Adventure

by Bob Raczka

Age Range: 9 - 14

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7613-4140-6
Publisher: Millbrook

Raczka, an artist and a reliable purveyor of workmanlike and generally lively introductions to major works of art for kids (More Than Meets the Eye, 2003), here trains his educated eye on 18 movement-rich paintings that each exhibit child appeal. The “action figures” here are not drawn from comic books or manga but rather from paintings. Quick descriptive phrases gloss works by such lights as George Bellows (“Prizefighters”), Diego Rivera (“Cannon Blasters”), Fernand Léger (“High-Rise Erectors”), Frederic Remington (“Cattle Drivers”), John Singleton Copley (“Shark Bite Survivors”), Paolo Ucello (“Dragon SlayersPaolo Ucello (“Dragon Slayers”), Pieter Bruegel (“Fun and Gamers”) and more. Unfortunately, the striking cover art (Blam, Roy Lichtenstein’s arresting, appealing comic-book image of a fighter jet), promises far livelier and much more action-adventure–packed images than these sturdily bound 32 pages can actually deliver. Useful but somewhat skimpy backmatter encourages kids to seek more information from each painting and can spark discussion. Unfortunately what might have begun as a terrific classroom or museum-education presentation is less than compelling in print. (Nonfiction. 9-14)