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THE NAKED LADY by Ian Wallace


by Ian Wallace & illustrated by Ian Wallace

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-7613-1596-9
Publisher: Roaring Brook

This quietly reminiscent autobiographical story of the author-illustrator’s early inspiration to become an artist is dedicated to his first art teacher. When an older man, an artist, moves into the farm next door to young Tom’s family, Tom’s mother sends him over with a pie. Captivated by a beautiful sculpture of a naked lady, new neighbor Pieter instructs Tom it should be termed “nude.” Pieter doesn’t plan to farm, so Tom’s father will farm his land. The first day, Tom and his father go over to help; they “plant” whimsical sculptures all over Pieter’s fields: larger-than-life tomatoes, carrots, pigs, and birds adorn the artist’s farm when they are finished. Tom spends more and more time with Pieter, and eventually Pieter reveals that Evangelina, the nude statue, is his wife and model of 42 years, now deceased. One day, standing among the outsize vegetable sculptures in Pieter’s field, Tom realizes that he wants to become an artist himself. Pieter helps him with his first project: metal versions of wild irises, to adorn Evangeline’s statue, reminiscent of those Tom saw Pieter place at her feet when he first moved in. These memories are aptly illustrated in soft colors that evoke the bucolic setting: warm yellow sun, golden hay, pale blue sky, gray marble and barn siding, and faded green grass and leaves suit the nostalgic tone of the text perfectly. This haunting story, beautifully written and illustrated, will be of interest primarily to those interested in exploring art and the sources of inspiration for those who create it. (Picture book. 5-9)