A gentle homage to artist Joseph Cornell explores artistic inspiration for very young readers and listeners.
Winter presents Cornell in the context of home on Utopia Parkway: caring for his brother upstairs, dreaming in his backyard, assembling his unique shadow boxes in the cellar of the house in Queens, New York, where artists and collectors eventually come to visit, as the author’s note reveals. Winter offers a look at a form of artistic expression within reach of her audience, explaining that Cornell was neither painter nor sculptor, yet he created “WONDERLANDS covered in glass.” She charmingly discloses that Cornell loved sweets and imagines child readers or listeners as one of the neighbors Cornell might have invited to a special exhibit of his boxes. Winter’s digitally rendered art is delicate and inviting. Images repeat and transform from imagined glimpses through the windows of Cornell’s house to a view into the artist’s dreams and memories. The plain outlines of his house are overlaid with images of a swan and a moon in one illustration, bright birds in another. She conveys the dreamlike quality of his work, even when strange or disquieting: “He remembered learning about stars, / and how the endless sky scared him.”
Winter captures in two dimensions a great deal of the evocative nature of Cornell’s three-dimensional work in a way that will be intriguing for the very young. (Picture book/biography. 3-7)