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THE SECRET WORLD OF WALTER ANDERSON by Hester Bass Kirkus Star

THE SECRET WORLD OF WALTER ANDERSON

By Hester Bass (Author) , E.B. Lewis (Illustrator)

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3583-1
Publisher: Candlewick

A gorgeous chronicle of a versatile southern American artist. “There once was a man whose love of nature was as wide as the world. / There once was an artist who needed to paint as much as he needed to breathe.” Bass’s text about Walter Anderson structures some sequential sentences with parallel beginnings, creating a sense of layered depth. The story section reads lyrically, and a lengthy (ten pages!) author’s note adds reproductions and useful biographical detail (mental illness, media variety, historical preservation of the art) for older readers. Superb watercolor technique, dramatic angles and moody shifts of light show the artist on beaches, in boats and on his favorite island. Anderson appears on most pages but Lewis often cleverly obscures his face, emphasizing water, wildlife and landscape over human individuality, matching Anderson’s own values. The illustration of a secret room whose walls Anderson painted in oils doesn’t reveal exactly what the text describes; following the bibliography, however, comes a treat—a clear photo of that exquisite hidden room, perfect for comparison with Lewis’s watercolor version. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-10)