An irresistible introduction to the world of fine art for kids 5 and up.

Intrigued by an art print in her childhood bedroom, a young Dixon (I Love Being a Girl, 2014, etc.) spent hours wondering about the stories behind the pictures: “My curiosity was piqued, not only about the little girl that Renoir painted, but by the creative process.” Encouraging her young readers “to dream and to marvel and to appreciate not only the act of creativity but a new way of seeing the world,” Dixon presents 30 painters and engaging samples of their work. With artists arranged in birth order, the format—the artist’s biographical information and portrait with a short essay appear on a single page, followed by three paintings identified by title, date, size and current location—works well to present a range, from the old masters (da Vinci leads off, followed by Titian and Rembrandt) through modern artists (Munch, Modigliani and Klee) and with less familiar names along the way (Corot, Alman-Tadema, Czech artist Mucha). The high-quality illustrations are interesting and varied. Along with the anticipated Mona Lisa and Girl with a Pearl Earring are less commonly viewed gems, almost all celebrating the feminine, although the occasional boy or still life can be found. The art selections alone are noteworthy, but the essays bring the book to life; brief but intriguing, each offers personal detail, definition, and odd and humanizing details. For example, the rule breaker Courbet used big canvases for painting common lives, and Manet painted a few strokes on a Morisot work without her permission. Most of the essays pose straightforward questions or refer to other artists in the book and encourage readers to see the relationships among painters, paintings and audience. But there is nothing dry about this presentation—young readers are encouraged to wonder about and just plain enjoy the works. Minor discrepancies (a Gonzales piece is referred to as both Nanny and Baby and Nanny and Child) do not detract.

An engaging, interactive guide to museum-quality visual art.

Pub Date: May 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-1627320139

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Bellagio Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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A wondrous mix of races, ages, genders, and social classes, and on virtually every page is a surprise.



Photographer and author Stanton returns with a companion volume to Humans of New York (2013), this one with similarly affecting photographs of New Yorkers but also with some tales from his subjects’ mouths.

Readers of the first volume—and followers of the related site on Facebook and elsewhere—will feel immediately at home. The author has continued to photograph the human zoo: folks out in the streets and in the parks, in moods ranging from parade-happy to deep despair. He includes one running feature—“Today in Microfashion,” which shows images of little children dressed up in various arresting ways. He also provides some juxtapositions, images and/or stories that are related somehow. These range from surprising to forced to barely tolerable. One shows a man with a cat on his head and a woman with a large flowered headpiece, another a construction worker proud of his body and, on the facing page, a man in a wheelchair. The emotions course along the entire continuum of human passion: love, broken love, elation, depression, playfulness, argumentativeness, madness, arrogance, humility, pride, frustration, and confusion. We see varieties of the human costume, as well, from formalwear to homeless-wear. A few celebrities appear, President Barack Obama among them. The “stories” range from single-sentence comments and quips and complaints to more lengthy tales (none longer than a couple of pages). People talk about abusive parents, exes, struggles to succeed, addiction and recovery, dramatic failures, and lifelong happiness. Some deliver minirants (a neuroscientist is especially curmudgeonly), and the children often provide the most (often unintended) humor. One little boy with a fishing pole talks about a monster fish. Toward the end, the images seem to lead us toward hope. But then…a final photograph turns the light out once again.

A wondrous mix of races, ages, genders, and social classes, and on virtually every page is a surprise.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-05890-4

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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A sumptuous, nostalgic ode to a disappearing landscape


An oversized album compiled in response to the recent omission by the Oxford Junior Dictionary of many natural-science words, including several common European bird, plant, and animal species, in favor of more current technological terms.

In his introduction, Macfarlane laments this loss, announcing his intention to create “a spellbook for conjuring back these lost words.” Each lost word is afforded three double-page spreads. First, the letters of each lost word are sprinkled randomly among other letters and an impressionistic sketch in a visual puzzle. This is followed by an acrostic poem or riddle describing essential qualities of the object, accompanied by a close-up view. A two-page spread depicting the object in context follows. Morris’ strong, dynamic watercolors are a pleasure to look at, accurate in every detail, vibrant and full of life. The book is beautifully produced and executed, but anyone looking for definitions of the “lost words” will be disappointed. The acrostic poems are subjective, sophisticated impressions of the birds and animals depicted, redolent with alliteration and wordplay, perhaps more appropriate for creative writing prompts than for science exploration. This book is firmly rooted in the English countryside, celebrating such words as “conker,” “bramble,” and “starling” (invasive in North America), but many will cross over for North American readers. A free “Explorer’s Guide” is available online.

A sumptuous, nostalgic ode to a disappearing landscape . (Picture book/poetry. 10-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4870-0538-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Anansi Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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