A fine introduction to an important American artist.

READ REVIEW

DOROTHEA LANGE

THE PHOTOGRAPHER WHO FOUND THE FACES OF THE DEPRESSION

“One of the leading documentary photographers of the twentieth century” comes to life in Weatherford’s latest historical work.

Weatherford dedicates the volume to “all who dare to see,” and that is exactly what Dorothea Lange did: she dared to see and documented what she saw—hunger, poverty, soup kitchens, breadlines, internment camps, and bloody strikes. Weatherford never talks down to her audience as she describes how Lange tackled these subjects, using figurative language and rich vocabulary to tell her story: “Dorothea donned a cloak of invisibility to pass the vagabonds in New York’s Bowery neighborhood.” She concludes the volume with a full treatment of how Lange’s iconic Migrant Mother photograph came to be. Green’s debut as a picture-book illustrator is brilliant. The cover perfectly captures Lange perched on a car, camera ready, surrounded by the gray landscape of the Dust Bowl. Green varies her palette, from bright scenes with Matisse-like images and colors to angular gray cityscapes to landscapes and mountain vistas done in lovely earth tones. Wisely, she doesn’t try to imitate Lange’s photographs too closely, simply painting them in black and white and making the images of people simple and child-friendly. A two-page “About Dorothea Lange” section concludes the volume with additional information.

A fine introduction to an important American artist. (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1699-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE

            The legions of fans who over the years have enjoyed dePaola’s autobiographical picture books will welcome this longer gathering of reminiscences.  Writing in an authentically childlike voice, he describes watching the new house his father was building go up despite a succession of disasters, from a brush fire to the hurricane of 1938.  Meanwhile, he also introduces family, friends, and neighbors, adds Nana Fall River to his already well-known Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, remembers his first day of school (“ ‘ When do we learn to read?’  I asked.  ‘Oh, we don’t learn how to read in kindergarten.  We learn to read next year, in first grade.’  ‘Fine,’ I said.  ‘I’ll be back next year.’  And I walked right out of school.”), recalls holidays, and explains his indignation when the plot of Disney’s “Snow White” doesn’t match the story he knows.  Generously illustrated with vignettes and larger scenes, this cheery, well-knit narrative proves that an old dog can learn new tricks, and learn them surpassingly well.  (Autobiography.  7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23246-X

Page Count: 58

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1999

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There's a need for a good book for kids about Ansel Adams—and this one misses the mark.

ANTSY ANSEL

ANSEL ADAMS, A LIFE IN NATURE

This distillation of the photographer’s life and achievements focuses on his “antsy” youth and early influences.

A distracted, sickly student, Ansel reveled in nature along the beaches near his San Francisco home. He blossomed after his prescient father withdrew him from formal schooling, enabling home tutoring and such experiences as a season ticket to San Francisco’s 1915 world’s fair. Effectively employing onomatopoeia, Jenson-Elliott reveals 14-year-old Ansel’s pivotal experience at Yosemite. On a family trip, “Ansel got his first glimpse of Yosemite Valley—the ripple-rush-ROAR! of water and light! Light! Light! It was love at first sight.” In Yosemite, his parents gave him his first camera, and “he was off— Run-leap-scramble—SNAP!…Ansel’s photos became a / journal of everything he saw.” The final five double-page spreads compress 60-plus years: photography expeditions in Yosemite, marriage to Virginia Best, Adams’ government-commissioned work documenting the national parks, and the enduring importance of his photographic record of the American wild lands. Hale’s collages blend traditional and digital layering and include cropped photographic images such as Adams’ childhood home and wood-paneled station wagon. Her stylized depiction of Yosemite’s Half Dome and decision to render several iconic photographs as painterly thumbnails display a jarring disregard for Adams’ lifelong absorption with technical and visual precision.

There's a need for a good book for kids about Ansel Adams—and this one misses the mark. (biographical note, photographs with note, bibliography of adult resources, websites) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-082-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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