THE AMAZING COLLECTION OF JOEY CORNELL by Candace Fleming

THE AMAZING COLLECTION OF JOEY CORNELL

Based on the Childhood of a Great American Artist
by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 8
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A boy amasses a collection of assorted objects and uses them to make art.

As a child, Joey has keen, eclectic preferences for his collection of items. A cork ball, a soap-bubble pipe, a rusty iron safe, a feather that falls fresh off a bird—Joey saves everything “that spark[s] his imagination or delight[s] his eye.” Asked what his plans for his oddments are, he’s unbothered: “Who knows?” After a while, he knows: “sifting, layering, mixing” the objects creates sculpture. His family finds his pieces “heavenly” and “magical”—and so do many other people after Joey grows up to become a professional artist using the same media, though the adult career and work of Joseph Cornell are oddly unmentioned except in the author’s note. Fleming does a bang-up job explaining Joey’s imaginative combination of objects to evoke emotion. DuBois’ acrylic illustrations are a mixed bag: magnificent composition, and the value extremes on a few spreads are dramatically gorgeous; however, figures are stiff, more like frozen white mannequins than humans—Joey often looks like a doll—and Joey’s sculptures appear quaint but murky and nondeliberate (the opposite of Cornell’s real pieces). Three reproductions of Cornell’s work are fruitlessly tiny. Alison Baverstock’s Joseph Cornell: Secrets in Box (2003), now sadly out-of-print, is the superior treatment.

Conceptually intriguing but insufficiently visually connected to Cornell’s aesthetic. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 27th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-399-55238-0
Page count: 36pp
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2017




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