THE YELLOW HOUSE

VINCENT VAN GOGH AND PAUL GAUGUIN SIDE BY SIDE

Post-Impressionists Van Gogh and Gauguin were two prodigiously talented painters whose short-lived collaboration (less than three full months in the late fall of 1888) was both astonishingly productive and fraught with conflict. Each artist had a highly individual vision, a powerful personality, and vastly different aesthetics. Rubin (There Goes the Neighborhood, p. 871, etc.) and Smith (Circus Train, not reviewed, etc.) have collaborated on this informed and engaging survey that’s well-timed to complement a show on the unique “Studio of the South” at the Art Institute of Chicago this fall. Vincent moved to Arles in the spring of 1888 and set up his studio in a sun-yellow house. He wanted another painter to join him in Provence and asked his brother Theo to convince Paul Gauguin to come to Arles. They were an artistic odd couple. Vincent was messy and impulsive. He worked plein aire and favored a quick, direct method of painting. He loaded his brushes with paint—some right out of the tube. Gauguin favored preliminary studies and careful, slow, detailed rendering. He preferred to work and rework his canvases in the studio. Artistic and personality differences coupled with Van Gogh’s increasing mental instability doomed the partnership. That notwithstanding, both painters work was infused with new vitality and greater power. This well-conceived introduction includes nearly a dozen fascinating pairings by Van Gogh and Gauguin, paintings of the same or similar subjects: Madame Ginoux, portraits of their own rush-seated chairs, landscapes. Smith’s own well-crafted watercolor paintings add welcome harmony to the painters’ dissonant relationship and make the book into a comprehensible, enjoyable whole. (author’s note, artist’s note, bibliography, art credits, brief biographies) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2001

ISBN: 0-8109-4588-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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MY HAVANA

MEMORIES OF A CUBAN BOYHOOD

Mirroring the career he eventually entered, architect Fernandez builds up, like one of Havana’s ornate structures, memories of childhood in his pre- and post-Castro hometown. A gifted illustrator, he drew constantly, easily rendering even minute architectural details. Before emigrating to New York City, young “Dino” and his family moved first to Madrid to assist relatives. Discovering a dictatorship that wasn’t much different from the one they’d left in Cuba, the family returned home and then finally moved to the United States. Havana was never far from his mind, and art brought solace. So homesick was Dino in Manhattan that he actually “built” a cardboard replica of Havana that captured the colors and warmth he remembered. This fictionalized memoir is for the contemplative reader and anyone who has felt out of place or yearned for a beloved home; it could serve as a catalyst for creative expression. Wells has chosen anecdotes wisely, and Ferguson’s illustrations are atmospheric, capturing Dino’s childlike enthusiasm and longing. An author’s note reveals how Wells came to know of and be inspired by Fernandez’s story. (Fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4305-8

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2010

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These short pieces may start young people on the search for more information about these intriguing figures.

LADIES OF LIBERTY

THE WOMEN WHO SHAPED OUR NATION

Highlighting women writers, educators, and reformers from the 18th and early 19th centuries, Roberts brings a group of women, many not so well-known, into focus and provides a new perspective on the early history of the United States in this picture-book version of her adult book of the same title (2008).

The women include Lucy Terry Prince, a persuasive speaker who created the first poem (an oral piece not written down for over 100 years after its creation) by an African-American; Elizabeth Bayley Seton, the first American-born saint and the founder of Catholic institutions including schools, hospitals, and orphanages; and Rebecca Gratz, a young philanthropist who started many organizations to help the Jewish community in Philadelphia. The author usually uses some quotes from primary-source materials and enlivens her text with descriptive events, such as Meriweather Lewis’ citation of Sacagawea’s “equal fortitude” with the males of the exploration party during a storm, saving many supplies when their boat capsized. The sepia-hued pen-and-ink drawings are inspired by the letters of the era, and the soft watercolor portraits of the women and the paintings that reveal more of their stories are traditional in feeling. In her introduction, the author emphasizes the importance of historical materials, such as letters, organizational records, journals, and books written at the time. Despite this, there is no bibliography or other means of sourcing quoted material.

These short pieces may start young people on the search for more information about these intriguing figures. (Informational picture book. 8-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-078005-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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