TWO BROTHERS, FOUR HANDS by Jan Greenberg
Kirkus Star

TWO BROTHERS, FOUR HANDS

Age Range: 7 - 10
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Readers meet two Swiss sculptors, brothers born a year apart, whose intertwined artistic lives spanned most of the 20th century and two world wars.

Multiaward-winning team Greenberg and Jordan are best known for their astonishing ability to decode and explore sophisticated artists and movements: abstraction (Action Jackson, illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker, 2002), modern dance (Ballet for Martha, illustrated by Brian Floca, 2010), and art photography (Meet Cindy Sherman, 2017). Here they turn to the Giacometti brothers, born at the turn of the 20th century. The older, Alberto, was pronounced a “genius” by his family. Art academy– and studio-trained, driven to make sculpture like his hero, Rodin, he eventually found his way to Paris. The simple dual biography explains how the family dynamic required that his sometimes-unfocused younger brother, Diego, join him there. Spare text describes how Diego became a skilled, sensitive metal worker, beginning as Alberto’s invaluable studio assistant and becoming Alberto’s true, artistic amanuensis. Hooper’s low-key, child-friendly details keep readers turning the pages. Ingenious scratchy, angular lines echo the wire models Diego fashioned to support Alberto’s striking and evocative original clay figures (most were later cast in bronze). She overlays the lines on broad, patchworked areas of serigraphlike spreads, offering effective, emotional undertones to the action of the text and the tenor of the times. Backmatter includes a focus on Alberto’s iconic, tensile, postwar masterpiece, Walking Man.

An extraordinary achievement and a moving, affecting evocation of two lives lived together. (illustrated timeline, notes, photographs, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 23rd, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-8234-4170-9
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2019




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