The pop-art movement of the 20th century is revived in this modern compilation of works by Lichtenstein, who died in 1997.
Author Rubin has cleverly chosen works from three decades and put them together into a house-themed picture book for children, based around Lichtenstein’s “House 1,” a brightly painted aluminum full-size facade with playfully skewed perspective. Lichtenstein’s iconic cartoon-style illustrations of the rooms in the house (yellow is a favorite color) are interspersed with humorous details, such as three red fish in a bowl, a humungous hot dog, a slice of cherry pie, and objects from Roy’s studio. Speech bubbles and onomatopoeic words—“R-R-R-R-RING!” goes the telephone; there’s a “knock knock” at the door—will amuse young readers, and the cheery pop images with heavy, black outlines will have instant appeal for a range of readers. Even though there are no people in the book (aside from a disembodied white hand wielding a sponge), the tone is fun and friendly, and readers will feel welcome in Roy’s house. An author’s note gives a brief biography of the artist, and details of each featured painting are included in the backmatter.
Today’s kids will not be particularly shocked by the iconoclastic aspects of pop art, as was Lichtenstein’s contemporary audience, but his artwork has an enduring appeal. (Picture book. 3-6)