OUT OF THIS WORLD

THE SURREAL ART OF LEONORA CARRINGTON

An empowering introduction that demands parallel examination of Carrington’s own work.

Artist Leonora Carrington (1917-2011) bucks pressure and tradition to join the surrealist movement.

“Leonora’s parents wanted her to be like every other well-bred English girl. But she was not.” This white girl with Irish heritage doesn’t want to “become a lady.” As a child, she sketches make-believe planets; she’s expelled from boarding school after boarding school. In Italy, she sees Renaissance art in churches and galleries and forges ahead “to paint her own imagined worlds.” She joins the surrealists in London and then France, painting fantastical creatures and women who are not simply “pretty decorations.” When Nazi Germany invades France, Carrington escapes to Mexico (described, alas, as “exotic”), befriends artist Remedios Varo, and continues painting surrealist works about enchanted women, nature, mysticism, and the occult. Hall’s watercolor ink, gouache, and pencil-crayon illustrations feature mild surrealism, far less eerie than Carrington’s. Hall uses sinuous lines abundantly—doorways curve, tree trunks bend—and tints Carrington’s world with greens, golds, and oranges. A few full-bleed spreads are magnificent, including the flight from Nazi Europe, which combines a burning city and a winged creature-ship, and a depiction of Carrington’s late painting of a giantess, for which readers must turn the book sideways. A love affair with surrealist Max Ernst and an early marriage of convenience to escape Europe go unmentioned until the author’s note; Carrington’s mental illness isn’t mentioned anywhere.

An empowering introduction that demands parallel examination of Carrington’s own work. (illustrator’s note, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-244109-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

BASKETBALL DREAMS

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses.

An NBA star pays tribute to the influence of his grandfather.

In the same vein as his Long Shot (2009), illustrated by Frank Morrison, this latest from Paul prioritizes values and character: “My granddad Papa Chilly had dreams that came true,” he writes, “so maybe if I listen and watch him, / mine will too.” So it is that the wide-eyed Black child in the simply drawn illustrations rises early to get to the playground hoops before anyone else, watches his elder working hard and respecting others, hears him cheering along with the rest of the family from the stands during games, and recalls in a prose afterword that his grandfather wasn’t one to lecture but taught by example. Paul mentions in both the text and the backmatter that Papa Chilly was the first African American to own a service station in North Carolina (his presumed dream) but not that he was killed in a robbery, which has the effect of keeping the overall tone positive and the instructional content one-dimensional. Figures in the pictures are mostly dark-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-81003-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

BEFORE SHE WAS HARRIET

A picture book more than worthy of sharing the shelf with Alan Schroeder and Jerry Pinkney’s Minty (1996) and Carole Boston...

A memorable, lyrical reverse-chronological walk through the life of an American icon.

In free verse, Cline-Ransome narrates the life of Harriet Tubman, starting and ending with a train ride Tubman takes as an old woman. “But before wrinkles formed / and her eyes failed,” Tubman could walk tirelessly under a starlit sky. Cline-Ransome then describes the array of roles Tubman played throughout her life, including suffragist, abolitionist, Union spy, and conductor on the Underground Railroad. By framing the story around a literal train ride, the Ransomes juxtapose the privilege of traveling by rail against Harriet’s earlier modes of travel, when she repeatedly ran for her life. Racism still abounds, however, for she rides in a segregated train. While the text introduces readers to the details of Tubman’s life, Ransome’s use of watercolor—such a striking departure from his oil illustrations in many of his other picture books—reveals Tubman’s humanity, determination, drive, and hope. Ransome’s lavishly detailed and expansive double-page spreads situate young readers in each time and place as the text takes them further into the past.

A picture book more than worthy of sharing the shelf with Alan Schroeder and Jerry Pinkney’s Minty (1996) and Carole Boston Weatherford and Kadir Nelson’s Moses (2006). (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2047-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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