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Still, Rubin’s portrait of this creative clan merits at least a look by students of both book illustration and American fine...

A perceptive, if undersized and overdesigned, introduction to a dynasty of American painters.

Playing to her well-established strengths, Rubin (Delicious! The Life & Art of Wayne Thiebaud, 2007, etc.) does a fine job of setting selected works of N.C. Wyeth, his son Andrew and his grandson Jamie into biographical context and explicating emotional substrates in their art. This is particularly important with Andrew, whose pictures are often oblique expressions of private feelings or incidents. The analysis is, however, embedded in references to other family members (several of whom were also artists, though none of their work is illustrated or discussed here), along with moves to various residences, gallery shows, awards, honors and other details that will be less than compelling to young readers. Moreover, the type and background color scheme does nothing but call attention to itself by changing with every page turn (the purple type on gray background is a particularly unfortunate choice). Though nearly every spread offers a sharply reproduced image of a painting or drawing (or an occasional photo), the volume’s modest trim size cramps the often large originals.

Still, Rubin’s portrait of this creative clan merits at least a look by students of both book illustration and American fine art in general. (index, bibliography) (Biography. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8118-6984-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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Born in 1880 in a tiny backwater in Alabama, Helen Keller lived a life familiar to many from the play and movie The Miracle Worker, as well as countless biographies. There’s no denying the drama in the story of the deaf and blind child for whom the world of language became possible through a dedicated and fanatically stubborn teacher, Annie Sullivan. But Helen’s life after that is even more remarkable: she went to high school and then to Radcliffe; she was a radical political thinker and a member of the Wobblies; she supported herself by lecture tours and vaudeville excursions as well as through the kindness of many. Dash (The Longitude Prize, p. 1483) does a clear-sighted and absorbing job of examining Annie’s prickly personality and the tender family that she, Helen, and Annie’s husband John Macy formed. She touches on the family pressures that conspired to keep Helen from her own pursuit of love and marriage; she makes vivid not only Helen’s brilliant and vibrant intelligence and personality, but the support of many people who loved her, cared for her, and served her. She also does not shrink from the describing the social and class divisions that kept some from crediting Annie Sullivan and others intent on making Helen into a puppet and no more. Riveting reading for students in need of inspiration, or who’re overcoming disability or studying changing expectations for women. (Biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-590-90715-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000

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From the Sterling Biographies series

More a historical narrative than a character portrait, this account of Tecumseh’s efforts to create a tribal confederacy in the Old Northwest focuses on the great Shawnee leader’s many battles and negotiations with then–Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison and then his disastrous—ultimately fatal—alliance with the British during the War of 1812. Replete with side essays on such varied subtopics as the Northwest Territory, the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-12 and the Battle of Lake Erie, it also boasts often–full-color illustrations from archival sources (many of these later paintings and old prints that are inaccurate, as the discursive captions often rightly note, and sometimes too small to make out anyway). In all, this will provide students a coherent view of events if not a clear understanding of Shawnee culture or Tecumseh’s heroic personal qualities. If it's not the 100-page holy grail of middle-grade biographies, it is still pretty close. (glossary, bibliography, source notes, index) (Biography. 11-13)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4027-6847-7

Page Count: 124

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2010

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