Monday, July 23, 2007

Here's Looking at Me: How Artists See Themselves by Bob Raczka #38


Raczka, B. (2006). Here’s looking at me: How artists see themselves. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Millbrook Press.

Book Type/Pages:

Picture/32

Grade Level:

Third through twelfth grades

Curriculum Links:

Art

Author Credibility:

Bob Raczka has studied art and worked at an advertising agency. He decided to pursue a more creative career and became a children’s author. He has written several art books for children. His introduction in this book gives defining information on the characteristics of portraits.

Awards:

2007 ALA Notable Children’s Book Award

Book Summary:

This book gives biographical information and shows self-portraits of sixteen different artists. Some of the portraits are humorous, and include elements that are playful. In the self-portrait of Norman Rockwell, there are seven self-portraits plus those of four other artists. This painting is of Norman Rockwell painting himself looking into a mirror so he can paint himself.

National/State Standards:

National Art Education Standards:
Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes
Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas
Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others

Illustrations/Graphics:

The illustrations in this book consist of photographs of different self-portraits done by various artists. Each two page spread contains a full page photograph of the portrait with biographical information on the artist on the opposing page.

Access Features:

Important access features of this book include an introduction and photo credits.

Writing Style:

Raczka uses an informal and conversational tone when writing. The biographical information also includes points to notice about each portrait, which draws the reader to study each portrait more closely.

Use in My Classroom:

I would use this book as a part of different artists studies. Another use would be incorporate writing and art, by having students create their own self-portrait and write a short biography to go with it.

My Response to the Book:

I loved this book. Raczka approaches the self-portrait as a way to look into the artist’s mind to see how they viewed themselves. By comparing different artists’ self-portraits, each painting evokes different emotions. Reading the biographical information also gave insight as to events that impacted the artist and their self-image.

Related Texts:

Other art books by Bob Raczka:

No One Saw: Ordinary Things through the Eyes of an Artist
More Than Meets the Eye: Seeing Art with All Five Senses
Unlikely Pairs: Fun with Famous Works of Art
Art Is …
3-D ABC: A Sculptural Alphabet
Fourteen Works of Art

Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein by Don Brown #37


Brown, D. (2004). Odd boy out: Young Albert Einstein. Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Book Type/Pages:

Picture/ 32

Grade Level:

Second through fifth grade

Curriculum Links:

Social Studies

Author Credibility:

Don Brown gives additional information on Albert Einstein in his author’s note at the back of the book. He also includes a bibliography of books at the back of the book.

Awards:

2005 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People
BCCB Blue Ribbon Non Fiction Book Award

Book Summary:

This book is about the life of Albert Einstein. He was born in Ulm, Germany on March 14, 1879. As a baby and young child, he worried his family. He was slow to speak and seemed unfocused in school. He shows great concentration and cleverness on tasks in which he is interested. His family moves to Munich and starts school. He does not enjoy sports as other boys and prefers to play alone. He is often teased in school for being Jewish. Albert grows up and attends Zurich Polytechnic, after which he takes a job in a government patent office. He wins the Nobel Prize for his work with the photoelectric effect and theories of relativity.

National/State Standards:

National Social Studies Standards:
Individual Development and Identity
Production, Distribution, and Consumption

Illustrations/Graphics:

Don Brown created the illustrations using pen and ink and watercolors. He also digitally created illustrations for this book. The illustrations are large, covering each two page spread. The illustrations show great detail, especially on Einstein’s face. The text appears on top of the illustration.

Access Features:

Important access features include an author’s note and a bibliography.

Writing Style:

The text is written informally and is simplistic in nature. Through his text, Brown conveys sadness at Einstein being left out and the reader feels empathy for him. The text is easy to understand and read.

Use in My Classroom:

I would use this book as a part of studying about famous scientists. I would also emphasize the power of one person to effect on others.

My Response to the Book:

I loved this book! The illustrations were so clear and showed great detail. I felt sad that Einstein was picked on as a child and spent most of his life being misunderstood.

Related Texts:

Albert Einstein: Young Thinker by Marie Hammontree
Young Albert Einstein by Santrey, Ellen Beier, and Laurence Santrey
Albert Einstein: A Biography for Young People by Catherine Owens Peare
Albert Einstein and the Theory of Relativity by Robert Cwiklik
Who Was Albert Einstein? by Jess BrallierAlbert
Einstein (History Maker Bios) by Stephanie Sammartino McPherson

Quilt Counting by Lesa Cline-Ransome #36


Cline-Ransome, L. (2002). Quilt counting. Illustrated by James E. Ransome. New York: SeaStar Books.

Book Type/Pages:

Picture/40

Grade Level:

PreK through third grades

Curriculum Links:

Math

Author Credibility:

The husband and wife team of Lesa and James Ransome have written and illustrated several books together. At the end of the book, the author gives additional information on the history of quilts.

Awards:

I could not locate any awards for this book.

Book Summary:

This is a counting book that uses quilts and family life as a backdrop for the numerals. The counting starts at one and goes up to ten and then goes back down to one. On each two page spread, the numeral appears as well as a the word form of the number.

National/State Standards:

National Math Standards:
Algebra

Illustrations/Graphics:

The illustrations appear to be acrylic and collage. Each illustration covers the two page spread. The art work is cheery and depicts elements of family and elements of living on a farm. The illustrator, James E. Ransome, uses bright and vivid colors that make his illustrations fun to look at.

Access Features:

Important access features in this book include quilt patterned endpapers and a note from the author about quilts and their history.

Writing Style:

Each page has a four lined poem the describes the illustration on the two page spread. The second and fourth line rhyme. The lyrical writing makes this an enjoyable book to read and accessible for lower readers.

Use in My Classroom:

I would probably use this book in my classroom as a part of a unit on quilts or poetry. Once introducing students to the illustrations and the poem, I might have them create their own poem about the illustration that included the number emphasized on that two page spread.

My Response to the Book:

I enjoyed this book because it had so many connections to other disciplines. Quilts lend themselves to storytelling, math, and history. With the added bonus of poetry and math, this book covers quite a few disciplines!

Related Texts:

The Icky Bug Counting Book by Jerry Pallotta
Underwater Counting: Even Numbers by Jerry Pallotta
Apple Fractions by Jerry Pallotta
Ocean Counting: Odd Numbers by Jerry Pallotta
Hershey’s Fractions by Jerry Pallotta
Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Weights and Measures by Jerry Pallotta
Skittles Riddles Math by Barbara Barbieri McGrath
Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Multiplication Book by Jerry Pallotta
How Big Is a Foot? by Rolf Myller

I Spy Shapes in Art by Lucy Micklethwait #35


Micklethwait, L. (2004). I spy shapes in art. New York: Greenwillow Books.

Book Type/Pages:

Picture/40

Grade Level:

PreK through fifth grades

Curriculum Links:

Art
Math

Author Credibility:

The author acknowledges and thanks the museums, galleries, private collectors, and copyright holders for use of their images in this book.

Awards:

Child magazine’s Best Children’s Book Award
2004 Blue Peter Book Award “The Best Book with Facts”

Book Summary:

This is a concept book of shapes, using art work as the vehicle for learning. The author starts each two page spread with the phrase “I spy with my little eye-“ and then identifies a basic shape to locate within a painting.

National/State Standards:

National Art Education Standards:
Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines

National Math Standards:
Geometry

Illustrations/Graphics:

The illustrations in this book consist of reproductions of different paintings. The reproductions cover most of one page in the two page spread. The paintings are from different artists and represent different techniques and styles. Included with the painting is the title and artist associated with that piece of work.

Access Features:

Important access features in this book include a foreward and acknowledgments from the author. There is also a reference section of the different art work featured including information on artist, art title, and location of the work.

Writing Style:

The writing is very predictable and simple. The author uses the “I Spy” phrase on each two page spread. This simplistic use of language allows the reader to appreciate and study the art work more closely.

Use in My Classroom:

I would definitely use this book in conjunction with a unit on geometry. It could also be used during an artist study, as a way to compare and contrast different artists and their work.

My Response to the Book:

I enjoyed this book. I had a good time studying the paintings looking for the suggested shapes. It would be a great book to use in the classroom.

Related Texts:

Other art books by Lucy Micklethwait:
I Spy Two Eyes: Numbers in Art
I Spy: An Alphabet in Art

Museum ABC by the Metropolitan Museum of Art #34


The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (2002). Museum abc. New York: Little, Brown and Company.

Book Type/Pages:

Picture/60

Grade Level:

PreK through fifth

Curriculum Links:

Art

Author Credibility:

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is home to over two million works of art. The “Met” was established in 1872 and is one of world’s largest and most important art museums.

Awards:

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Award

Book Summary:

This is an alphabet concept book. Each letter of the alphabet is represented by four photographed sections of different works of art. For example, the A is paired with “apple” and four examples of apples in different works of art are shown. The art mediums vary from painting to sculpture to tapestries.

National/State Standards:

National Art Education Standards:
Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes
Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas
Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures

Illustrations/Graphics:

The illustrations in this book consist of sectioned photographs of different works of art. All pieces of art are housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Each two page spread has four sectional photos on one page and the accompanying page contains the letter of the alphabet and the emphasis for that letter.

Access Features:

Important access features for this book include dark blue endpapers with light blue alphabet letters and an alphabetical index. In the index, each piece of work showcased in the book has information on artist, medium, date, full size, and information on acquisition of the art work.

Writing Style:

Because this is an alphabet book, the text is at a minimum. The majority of text appears in the index. That information is presented in factual form, and not written in a narrative form.

Use in My Classroom:

I would use this in my classroom during a study of art, artists, and periods. This book could be used as a traditional alphabet book, but older students would enjoy, as I did, comparing and contrasting different works of art.

My Response to the Book:

I really enjoyed this book! I thought it would be a little dull since it appeared to be an alphabet book, but I found myself pouring over the index reading the information on each piece of art in the book. While looking through each two page spread, I found myself guessing the artist and period and checking the index to see if I was correct.

Related Texts:

Other books about art museums:

Squeaking of Art: The Mice Go to the Museum by Monica Wellington
Visiting the Art Museum by Laurene Krasny Brown
Babar’s Museum of Art by Laurent De Brunhoff
You Can’t Take a Balloon into the Museum of Fine Arts by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman
I Spy: An Alphabet in Art by Lucy Micklethwait
Off the Wall Museum Guides for Kids: Egyptian Art by Ruthie Knapp
Museum 123 by the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Museum Shapes by the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Inside the Museum: A Children’s Guide to the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Joy Richardson

Portraits (A First Discovery Art Book) by Claude Delafosse #33

Delafosse, C. (1993). Portraits (First Discovery Art series). Illustrated by Tony Ross. New York: Scholastic Books.

Book Type/Pages:

Picture/24

Grade Level:

PreK through second grade

Curriculum Links:

Art

Author Credibility:

Claude Delafosse has studied art in France in the Art Schools of Rouen. He has written and illustrated several books for children.

Awards:

I could not locate any awards for this book.

Book Summary:

This is a very simplistic concept book about portraits. It starts by defining a portrait, and then giving examples of portraits that have been painted, sculpted, and engraved. The book contains acetate overlays that allow elements of the paintings to be deconstructed.

National/State Standards:

National Art Education Standards:
Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes
Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas
Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others

Illustrations/Graphics:

The illustrations in this book consist of photographs of famous portraits. There are also accompanying illustrations that appear to be done in watercolor. Incorporated with the illustrations are acetate overlays.

Access Features:

Important access features of this book include a Table of Illustrations with information about each piece of art. Other titles in the First Discovery Art series are also listed. This book also contains acetate overlays.

Writing Style:

Because this book is intended for young readers, it is written simplistically. Each piece of work is deconstructed with the overlays and the author asks a leading question that is answered by using the overlay.

Use in My Classroom:

I would use this book as a part of different artist studies. I would also use this to explain the difference in portraits and other paintings such as landscapes or abstract art.

My Response to the Book:

I enjoyed this book. I like the use of acetate overlays. I can remember looking through an old encyclopedia set and studying the acetate overlays. I enjoyed playing with them as I did in this book.

Related Texts:

Another book about portraits:

Here’s Looking at Me: How Artists See Themselves by Bob Raczka

Other art books for children:

Claude Monet: Sunshine and Waterlillies by True Kelley
Vincent Van Gogh: Sunflowers and Swirly Stars by Joan Holub
Pablo Picasso: Breaking All the Rules by True Kelley
Henri Matisse: Drawing with Scissors by Jane O’Conner
Edgar Degas: Paintings That Dance by Maryann Cocca-Leffler
Mary Cassatt: Family Pictures by Jane O’Conner

Katie and the Sunflowers by James Mayhew #32


Mayhew, J. (2000). Katie and the sunflowers. New York: Orchard Books.

Book Type/Pages:

Picture/32

Grade Level:

Kindergarten through third grade

Curriculum Links:

Art

Author Credibility:

James Mayhew has written several art books in this series that include the same characters. In this book, he includes additional information about Vincent Van Gogh and other Postimpressionists artists. He acknowledges the National Gallery in London, the Bridgeman Art Library, the National Gallery of Art, Kroller-Muller Museum in the Netherlands, and Musee d’Osay in Paris.

Awards:

I could not locate any awards for this book.

Book Summary:

This book is another in the series by Mayhew that has Katie and her grandmother visiting the art museum. Katie and her grandmother are planting seeds and have to stop because of inclement weather. They decide to spend the afternoon in the museum. While her grandmother is resting, Katie climbs into different paintings of the Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Cezanne. Katie ends up messing up each of the famous paintings she visits, and while putting them back together, she interacts with the subjects in the painting to learn more about the artists.

National/State Standards:

National Art Education Standards:
Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others

Illustrations/Graphics:

The illustrations in this book appear to be done in watercolor. Each illustration covers a two page spread with the text written on the illustration. In addition, reproductions of art work by Vincent Van Gogh and other Postimpressionists appear throughout the book. Mayhew, who also illustrated the book, uses yellow frequently, which is Van Gogh’s signature color.

Access Features:

Important access features in this book include additional information about the Postimpressionists artists (Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Cezanne) and acknowledgments. Also, the endpapers are illustrated with pencil drawings of sunflowers.

Writing Style:

Mayhew writes simply so that younger readers can enjoy learning more about the Postimpressionists painters. His tone is informal and conversational.

Use in My Classroom:

I would use this book as a part of an artist study of Vincent Van Gogh.

My Response to the Book:

I liked this book. I have read other books about Vincent Van Gogh and found them to be depressing because it went into further detail about Van Gogh’s mental illness. This book showed some of Van Gogh’s work and gave information on him without burdening the reader.

Related Texts:

Other art books by James Mayhew:

Katie and the Bathers
Katie and the Spanish Princess
Katie’s Picture Show
Katie Meets the Impressionists
Katie and the Mona Lisa
Katie’s Sunday Afternoon

Katie and the Mona Lisa by James Mayhew #31


Mayhew, J. (1998). Katie and the Mona Lisa. New York: Orchard Books.

Book Type/Pages:

Picture/ 32

Grade Level:

Kindergarten through third grade

Curriculum Links:

Art

Author Credibility:

James Mayhew has written several books in this series about famous artists and their work. At the back of the book, the author includes additional information about the Mona Lisa and the Italian Renaissance. He gives short biographical information on the artists featured in the book: Da Vinci, Botticelli, Raphael, and Carpaccio. He also acknowledges the Musee d’Louvre, the National Gallery in London, the National Gallery of Art and the Bridgeman Art Library in London.

Awards:

I could not locate any awards for this book.

Book Summary:

In this book, Katie and her grandmother visit the art museum. With her grandmother dozing at the museum, Katie visits the paintings in the art museum. She pays special attention to the Mona Lisa and enters the painting. In her conversations and adventures with Mona Lisa, she learns more about the Italian Renaissance painters and their art work featured in the museum.

National/State Standards:

National Art Education Standards:
Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others

Illustrations/Graphics:

The illustrations appear to be done in watercolor. In addition to the illustrations, which cover each two page spread, reproductions of the featured art work appears. The illustrations have a brown overtone, very much like the work of Da Vinci in the Mona Lisa.

Access Features:

Important access features in this book include additional information on the Italian Renaissance artists and acknowledgements. In addition, the endpapers have pencil drawings of the paintings featured in the book.

Writing Style:

Mayhew writes simply so that younger readers can enjoy learning more about the Renaissance painters. His tone is informal and conversational.

Use in My Classroom:

I would use this book as a part of a study of Leonardo da Vinci or the Italian Renaissance artists.

My Response to the Book:

I liked this book. It was an easy read and the illustrations were well done.

Related Texts:

Other art books by James Mayhew:

Katie and the Bathers
Katie and the Spanish Princess
Katie’s Picture Show
Katie Meets the Impressionists
Katie and the Sunflowers
Katie’s Sunday Afternoon

The Great Fire by Jim Murphy (2 Books) #29-30


Murphy, J. (1995). The great fire. New York: Scholastic Books.

Book Type/Pages:

Chapter/ 144 pages

Grade Level:

Fifth through twelfth grades

Curriculum Links:

Social Studies

Author Credibility:

Jim Murphy has written many award winning books. In this book he acknowledges the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Chicago Libraries, the Chicago Architecture Foundation, the Chicago Historical Society, the Chicago Public Library, and colleagues that fact checked his manuscripts.

Awards:

Newberry Honor Book
Boston Globe-Horn Book Nonfiction Honor Book Award
Orbis Pictus Award
ALA Notable Children’s Book
ALA Best Book for Young Adults
ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
CBC/NCSS Notable Children’s Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies
Horn Book Fanfare Book
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books Blue Ribbon Book
Book Links Best Books of 1995
Booklist Editor’s Choice
School Library Journal Best Books of the Year
Publishers Weekly Best Books for 1995
Parenting Magazine’s Best Children’s Books of 1995
Parenting’s Reading Magic Award 1995
New York Library’s 100 Best Children’s Books for Reading and Sharing

Book Summary:

This book is about the Great Fire of Chicago that began on Sunday night, October 8, 1871. The story is told in third person and follows several people during their quest to survive the fire. The fire consumed miles of Chicago, including its downtown area. Most of the smaller, lower income homes were consumed. Many factors contributed to the spread of the fire: high wind, dry conditions, wood structures, and unorganized fire departments. Many lost their lives and many more lost their homes during this tragedy.

National/State Standards:

National Social Studies Standards:
Time, Continuity, and Change
Individual Development and Identity
Individuals, Groups, and Institutions

Illustrations/Graphics:

The illustrations of this book are from varied sources. Some are from the author’s collection and some are from the Chicago Historical Society. All appear to be in chalk or pencil and have a sepia brown tone. Illustrations are interspersed throughout each chapter. A caption appears with each illustration. There are a few black and white photographs in the book.

Access Features:

Important access features in this book include acknowledgments, a table of contents, an introduction, maps throughout each chapter, bibliography and sources, and an index.

Writing Style:

The writing style of this book was informal and conversational. Murphy allows us to witness the terror of this tragedy and feel connected to the characters.

Use in My Classroom:

I would use this in my classroom in a variety of units. It could be used as a part of fire prevention studies, studies of cities and their design, and as a part of historic elements in the nineteenth century.

My Response to the Book:

I really liked this book. I was not interested in the topic initially, but once I started reading it, I found myself very engaged. I was reluctant to stop reading at our assigned stopping places. This is definitely a book I would read with students.

Related Texts:

Other books by Jim Murphy:

An American Plague: The True and Terrifying Story of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1793
Blizzard: The Storm That Changed America
The Boys’ War: Confederate and Union Soldiers Talk about the Civil War

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Gee Whiz! It's All About Pee by Susan E. Goodman #28


Goodman, S. (2006). Gee whiz! It’s all about pee. Illustrated by Elwood H. Smith. New York: Viking Books.

Book Type/Pages:

Picture/ 40


Grade Level:

Second through eighth grades

Curriculum Links:

Science
Social Studies

Author Credibility:

In the afterword, Goodman cites different books on urine that she used as research for this book. She had already written a book entitled The Truth About Poop and wanted to follow it with a book on urine. She committed to doing research to see if enough material existed to do so. She also acknowledges scientists that assisted with background information.

Awards:

I was not able to locate any awards for this book.

Book Summary:

This book is about urine. It covers the gamut of topics regarding pee. The biology of how we pee, the history of toilets and bathrooms, uses for urine, and predictions of how using the restroom will be different in the future is covered. Many interesting facts are presented on a topic that everyone can relate to.

National/State Standards:

National Social Studies Standards:
Science, Technology, and Society
Time, Continuity, and Change

National Scienc Standards:
Life Science

Illustrations/Graphics:

The illustrations appear to be watercolor and colored pencil. The illustrations accompany the text and provide a humorous view of the text provided on the two page spread. The illustrations add interest to an already interesting topic and make for a fun read. The illustrations do not overpower the text, but accentuate it.

Access Features:

Important access features of this book include a table of contents, an introduction, sections headed with whimsical titles, and an afterword. The front and back endpapers are printed with many facts about urine.

Writing Style:

The writing style of this book is informal and conversational. Goodman uses quite a bit of humor throughout this book, which I feel helps keep the reader from thinking the topic is gross. She pulls in the reader and makes you want to know more.

Use in My Classroom:

I do not think that I would read this book aloud, but I would definitely have it around for student reading. It would be a good book to use when discussing the body systems.

My Response to the Book:

Of all the books I have read so far, this one is my favorite! I laughed as I read it and learned many new things. I really liked how Goodman took a potentially sensitive subject and made it relatable to people of all ages.

Related Texts:

Other books about our bodies and their functions:

The Truth about Poop by Susan E. Goodman
Poop: A Natural History of the Unmentionable by Nicola Davies
Jurassic Poop: What Dinosaurs (And Others) Left Behind by Jacob Berkowitz
Five Quarts: A Personal and Natural History of Blood by Bill Hayes
Smart Feller Fart Smeller and Other Spoonerisms by Jon Agee
The Gas We Pass: The Story of Farts by Shinta Cho
The Holes in Your Nose by Genichiro Yagyu
All About Scabs by Genichiro Yagyu
Contemplating Your Bellybutton by Jun Nanao
Where’s the Poop? by Julie Markes
Grossology by Sylvia Branzei
Oh, Yuck! The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty by Joy Masoff

Chagall: My Sad and Joyous Village by Jacqueline Loumaye #27


Loumaye, J. (1989). Chagall: My sad and joyous village (Art for Children series). Illustrated by Veronique Boiry. New York: Chelsea House Publishers.

Book Type/Pages:

Picture/62

Grade Level:

Third through fifth grades

Curriculum Links:

Art

Author Credibility:

Jacqueline Loumaye has written several books for children on artists. This book is part of a series called Art for Children, in which an artist is spotlighted. The text information matches the chronology at the back of the book.

Awards:

I could not locate any awards for this book.

Book Summary:

This book was about Marc Chagall. Chagall was born in the poor city of Vitebsk in Russia. Chagall went to Paris to study art where le honed his craft. Chagall is best known for his imaginative paintings with whimsical touches. He returned to his native Russia, but left prior to World War II. Chagall mastered many mediums including painting, sculpture, and stained glass windows.

National/State Standards:

National Art Education Standards:
Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and culture
Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others

Illustrations/Graphics:

The illustrations in this book consist of watercolors by Veronique Boiry, reproductions of Marc Chagall’s work, and photographs. The book has more text than illustrations, which I feel detracts from the overall appeal of the book. The watercolor illustrations compete with Chagall’s work, which is similar in color, movement, and humor. The overall feel of the illustrations I feel takes away from the beauty of Chagall’s work.

Access Features:

Important access features in this book include a glossary, a chronology of events in Chagall’s life, a location list of Chagall’s paintings featured in the book, and a list of photographic credits.

Writing Style:

The writing style of this book was complicated to follow. The story follows a boy named Giles and his adult friend Nicholas, as they travel through France to learn more about Chagall. Information about Chagall is revealed through their dialogue and travels. The story line was splintered and hard to follow. This was not a well written book!

Use in My Classroom:

If I had this book in my classroom, I would use it more for the photographs and reproductions of Chagall’s work. The text and story was confusing.

My Response to the Book:

This was the second book in this series that I read. I did not like this book. I was looking forward to learning more about Chagall and his work, but got muddled in the story. I did enjoy looking at the artwork and photographs and will further research Chagall to learn more information.

Related Texts:

Other books about Marc Chagall:

Dreamer from the Village: The Story of Marc Chagall by Michelle Markel
Marc Chagall (Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists) by Mike Venezia
Marc Chagall: What Colour Is Paradise? (Adventures in Art) by Marc Chagall

Henri Matisse: Drawing with Scissors by Jane O'Connor #26


O’Conner, J. (2002). Henri Matisse: drawing with scissors. Illustrated by Jessie Hartland. New York: Grosset & Dunlap.

Book Type/Pages:

Picture/32

Grade Level:

Second through fifth grades

Curriculum Links:

Art

Author Credibility:

I could not locate any information on the author in regards to her credibility with this book. However, the information presented in this book is consistent with other research on Henri Matisse that I have conducted. Jane O’Conner has written many award winning children’s books.

Awards:

I could not locate any awards for this book.

Book Summary:

This book is about the artist Henri Matisse. It is told from the point of view of a girl doing a book report for school. Matisse was born in France in the late 1800’s and after a period of illness, where he discovered painting, went to Paris to study formal painting. After several different stages that his work went through, he became older and sickly. He was no longer able to paint traditionally, so he turned to cutting shapes out of painted paper and then arranging them on paper.

National/State Standards:

National Art Education Standards:
Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others

Illustrations/Graphics:

The illustrations in this book are a combination of several mediums: collage, photographs, reproductions of Matisse’s art work, and acrylic. The book is set up as a student written report so each two page spread varies. Headings and other information appear to be handwritten, as well as other touches that make it look like a scrapbook. The illustrations were very interesting and whimsical.

Access Features:

There are no traditional access features in this book. The book starts with what appears as a handwritten note on a piece of stationary from a teacher. The note details an assignment that each student has on a chosen artist.

Writing Style:

The writing style is informal and conversational. Because it is written from the standpoint of a student report, the text is easy to read and understand. There is a humor in the story, as the “student” adds her own take and connections to what she has learned about Henri Matisse.

Use in My Classroom:

I would use this book as a part of artist studies.

My Response to the Book:

I really liked this book. The way the book is set up, makes it very interesting to read. It really did feel as if I was reading the report of a fifth or sixth grade student. The interesting mix of illustrations also made this an interesting book to read.

Related Texts:

Other books about Henri Matisse:

Henri Matisse (Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists) by Mike Venezia
Henri Matisse (Artists in Their Time) by Jude Welton
A Bird or 2: A Story about Henri Matisse by Bijou Le Tord
Matisse: Cut-Out Fun with Matisse (Adventures in Art) by Henri Matisse

Picasso by Mike Venezia #25


Venezia, M. (1988). Picasso (Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists series). Chicago, Illinois: Childrens Press.

Book Type/Pages:

Picture/32

Grade Level:

Second through fifth grades

Curriculum Links:

Art

Author Credibility:

Mike Venezia attended the Art Institute in Chicago. He has written over forty-five books on famous artists for this series.

Awards:

I could not locate any awards for this book.

Book Summary:

This book is about the artist Pablo Picasso. He was born in Spain to parents that encouraged him to paint. His painting style went through many changes over time. He painted during his “Blue” and “Rose” period, where his use of color corresponded with this outlook on life. A form of art called cubism was made famous by Picasso. He continued to work until his death at age ninety-two.

National/State Standards:

National Art Education Standards:
Understanding the visual arts and in relation to history and cultures
Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others

Illustrations/Graphics:

The illustrations in this book are a mixture of photographs, reproductions of Picasso’s work, and watercolor. The illustrations done by the author/illustrator Mike Venezia, are humorous and cartoon-like. Examples of Picasso’s work appear throughout the book.

Access Features:

An important access feature of this book includes information on the locations of the works featured in this book.

Writing Style:

The writing style of this book is informal and conversational. The text is plain and easy to read. Because of its simplistic nature, I found this to be an easy read that did not confuse me with unnecessary information.

Use in My Classroom:

I would use this book as a part of art studies in my classroom. I feel that some of the works featured in this book would lend themselves to instruction in math and as inspiration for writing assignments.

My Response to the Book:

I really enjoyed this book! I was apprehensive because it was a part of a series, but was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it. I was not aware of all of the different stages that Picasso’s work went through.

Related Texts:

Other books about Pablo Picasso:

Picasso and the Girl with a Ponytail by Laurence Anholt
Painting with Picasso by Julie Merberg
A Day with Picasso by Susanne Pfleger
Pablo Picasso: Breaking All the Rules by True Kelley
Pablo Picasso (Artists in Their Time) by Kate Scarborough

Visiting the Art Museum by Laurene Krasny Brown #24


Brown, L.K. (1986). Visiting the art museum. Illustrated by Marc Brown. New York: E.P. Dutton.

Book Type/Pages:

Picture/32

Grade Level:

Pre-Kindergarten through third grade

Curriculum Links:

Art

Author Credibility:

The author acknowledges staff from the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the National Gallery of Art.

Awards:

1988 Kentucky Book Award

Book Summary:

This is a book about a family that visits an art museum. They travel through different rooms in the museum and see examples of primitive art, ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman art, as well as examples of Renaissance armor, Impressionists art, and twentieth century pop art.

National/State Standards:

National Art Education Standards:
Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
Reflecting upon and asserting the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others
Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines

Illustrations/Graphics:

The illustrations in this book appear to be done in watercolor and colored pencil. Each two page spread contains a different gallery room in the art museum and contains both photographs of the art work and illustrated reproductions within the room. The members of the family in the art museum have conversations in speech bubbles.

Access Features:

An important access feature in this book include an art index titled “More About The Art.” Each two page spread has a thumbnail outline of the illustration with numbered references of the art pieces. A description of the art work is also included. Another access feature includes tips for enjoying an art museum.

Writing Style:

The writing style of this book is informal. The text is set up to be read like a cartoon with characters interspersed in the illustrations speaking through speech bubbles.

Use in My Classroom:

This would be a good book to use at any stage of studying art work. Because the book spans many different times through art work, it would be appropriate during many different art periods.

My Response to the Book:

I loved this book! I found it in the library by accident while looking for another book and after flipping through it, found it to be a great read! The humorous interactions of the people in the museum made this book enjoyable to read. I especially loved the art index in the back of the book and spent lots of time going back and looking at different art pieces while reading the index.

Related Texts:

Squeaking of Art: The Mice Go to the Museum by Monica Wellington
Museum ABC by the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Babar’s Museum of Art by Laurent De Brunhoff
You Can’t Take a Balloon into the Museum of Fine Arts by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman
I Spy: An Alphabet in Art by Lucy Micklethwait
Off the Wall Museum Guides for Kids: Egyptian Art by Ruthie Knapp
Museum 123 by the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Inside the Museum: A Children’s Guide to the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Joy Richardson

Katie Meets the Impressionists by James Mayhew #23


Mayhew, J. (1997). Katie meets the Impressionists. New York: Orchard Books.

Book Type/Pages:

Picture/32

Grade Level:

Pre-Kindergarten through third grades

Curriculum Links:

Art

Author Credibility:

The author has written many children’s books, as well as illustrated for many others. In the author’s acknowledgments, he lists the paintings featured in the book and their current location.

Awards:

I could not locate any awards for this book.

Book Summary:

This book is about a girl names Katie that visits an art museum with her grandmother. She looks at different art works by the Impressionists and climbs into the paintings. When she climbs into the paintings she visits the people and places in them and has adventures.

National/State Standards:

National Art Education Standards:
Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others
Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures

Illustrations/Graphics:

The illustrations in this book are done in watercolors. James Mayhew created the illustrations as well as wrote the text for this book. The illustrations resemble the Impressionists’ style of the artwork in the museum. Each page has a large, unframed illustration with the text underneath.

Access Features:

Important access features in this book include information about the Impressionists featured in the book and author acknowledgments.

Writing Style:

The writing style is conversational in tone. The text is intended for younger audiences and is simple to read and understand.

Use in My Classroom:

I would use this book as a part of an art study of the Impressionists.

My Response to the Book:

I liked this book! I thought that it was easy to read and would be enjoyed by struggling readers, as well as higher readers. It could also be used as a read aloud. The way the story is written, with a fictional character learning about real pieces of art. Some of the other art books that I have read have not been as easy to read or understand.

Related Texts:

Other art books by James Mayhew:


Katie and the Bathers
Katie and the Spanish Princess
Katie’s Picture Show
Katie and the Mona Lisa
Katie and the Sunflowers
Katie’s Sunday Afternoon

Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford #22


Weatherford, C.B. (2006). Moses: When Harriet Tubman led her people to freedom. Illustrated by Kadir Nelson. New York: Hyperiorn Books for Children.

Book Type/Pages:

Picture/44 pages

Grade Level:

Kindergarten through fifth grades

Curriculum Links:

Social Studies

Author Credibility:

The author gives background information on Harriet Tubman both in the foreward and in the author’s notes.

Awards:

2007 Caldecott Honor

2007 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award

Book Summary:

This book is about Harriet Tubman’s extraordinary life. The story starts when she is a child and progresses through her adult life. She was born into slavery, but with the help of God, escaped to freedom in the north. She felt God call her to help free others and become the “Moses” for her people and she made numerous trips south to free enslaved blacks.

National/State Standards:

National Social Studies Standards:
Individual Development and Identity
Individuals, Groups, and Institutions

Illustrations/Graphics:

The book does not mention the media used in the illustrations. Each two page spread has a large, detailed, and moving illustration. The text appears over the illustration. The colors in the illustration correlate to the progression of Harriet’s journey to freedom.

Access Features:

Important access features in this book include a foreward and an author’s note. The endpapers are golden yellow, perhaps to symbolize the sun.

Writing Style:

This book was written in almost a lyrical fashion. The text appears throughout the pages in waves. The text is informal and engaging and easy to understand.

Use in My Classroom:

I would use this book as a part of a unit on civil rights and studies of women who overcame obstacles in their lifetime to make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others.

My Response to the Book:

I thought this was a powerful book. The illustrations were beautiful and the accompanying text had movement. I felt deeply moved while reading this book. I learned more about Harriet Tubman and her incredible life. She is a hero to so many!

Related Texts:

Other books about Harriet Tubman and slavery:

If You Traveled on the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine
Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson
Follow the Drinking Gourd by Jeanette Winter
If you Lived When There Was Slavery in America by Anne Kamma
Wanted Dead or Alive: The True Story of Harriet Tubman by Ann McGovern
A Picture Book of Harriet Tubman by David A. Adler
An Apple for Harriet Tubman by Glennette Tilley Turner

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

You Can't Take a Balloon into the Metropolitan Museum of Art by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman #21


Weitzman, J. P. (1998). You can’t take a balloon into the Metropolitan Museum. Illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. New York: Puffin Books.

Book Type/Pages:

Picture/35

Grade Level:

Pre-Kindergarten through third grade

Curriculum Links:

Art

Author Credibility:

The author and illustrator acknowledge staff from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Opera House, and the Plaza Hotel, which are also featured in the book.

Awards:

ALA Notable Book

American Bookseller Pick of the Lists

New York Public Library "100 Titles for Reading and Sharing"

A Child Study Children's Book Committee Children's Book of the Year

Book Summary:

This is a wordless picture book that shows different art pieces on display on The Metropolitan Museum of Art. A little girl has a balloon that she is not allowed to take into the museum and the balloon causes events to happen that resemble different art pieces being viewed inside the museum.

National/State Standards:

National Art Education Standards:
Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others


Illustrations/Graphics:

The illustrations of this book were made using black ink, watercolor, gouache, and colored pencils. Each page is full of detailed illustrations. Some pages have several pictures on each page. The illustrations tell the story of the balloon that is not allowed in the museum, while the balloon’s owner is inside enjoying the works of art.

Access Features:

Important access features in this book include author acknowledgements, a list of the works of art reproduced in the book from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and end papers that drawn in the same style of the book.

Writing Style:

There is no written text in this book but the pictures tell a cute and funny story. The illustration rich story would be welcoming to low readers.

Use in My Classroom:

I would use this as a part of an art unit. I think this would be a great book to use as a part of a writing lesson. It would be great to have students look through the pictures and then compose the written story of the balloon or the little girl.

My Response to the Book:

I thought this was a great book. It made me look closely at the art pieces and compare them to the events outside of the museum with the balloon. This would be good to use with students to explain the saying, “Life imitating art.”

Related Texts:

Similar books by Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman:
You Can’t Take a Balloon into the Museum of Fine Arts
You Can’t Take a Balloon into the National Gallery

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Joan of Arc by Diane Stanley #20


Stanley, D. (1998). Joan of Arc. New York: William Morrow and Company, Incorporated.

Book Type/Pages:

Picture/48

Grade Level:

Fourth through eighth grade

Curriculum Links:

social studies

Author Credibility:

Diane Stanley has written many award winning children’s books. In the afterward, the author addresses the transcript of the trial that Joan of Arc went through. Because of the trial transcripts, the author states that more is known of Joan than other women during this time. There is also a bibliography of books on Joan of Arc in this book.

Awards:

IRA/CBC Teacher’s Choice Award
ALA Notable Children’s Book
Publisher’s Weekly Best Book

Book Summary:

This book starts with a description of The Hundred Years War. It encourages the reader to think about how it would be if your country had always been at war. Joan was an illiterate peasant girl who started to hear voices and see visions as a teenager. The voices encouraged her to assist the Crown Prince of France be formally crowned and drive the English out of France. Joan worked hard to make this happen. She assisted the French army and was successful in many battles. She was later captured, tried by the English, and burned at the stake as a heretic. Twenty-five years after her death, King Charles had her reinstated in the Catholic Church and her name cleared.

National/State Standards:

Social Studies Standards:
Time, Continuity, and Change
People, Places, and Environments
Individual Development and Identity
Individuals, Groups, and Institutions

Illustrations/Graphics:

The illustrations were done in acrylic paint. Each two page spread has text on one page with an accompanying illustration. The illustration is large and is framed with a decorative outline. The illustrations are beautifully done and show great detail.

Access Features:

Important access features in this book include background information for the reader on The Hundred Years War, a pronunciation guide, a map of France during Joan of Arc’s life time, an afterward that tells about history after Joan’s death, a bibliography, and a list of books for younger readers. The end papers are done in a scarlet with gold accents.

Writing Style:

The text of this biography is written in a conversational tone. Details about Joan’s life are described in sequential order.

Use in My Classroom:

I would use this book as a part of a unit on the Middle Ages, French history, or women’s studies.

My Response to the Book:

This was another great book by Diane Stanley. The illustrations are large and beautiful and show great detail. The text was easy to read and informative. This would be a great book to include during a study of the Middle Ages. I like how this biography shows a strong woman that stood up for her beliefs.

Related Texts:

Other books by Diane Stanley:
Leonardo da Vinci
Bard of Avon: The Story of William Shakespeare
Good Queen Bess: The Story of Elizabeth I of England
Cleopatra

Michelangelo

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Frida by Jonah Winter #19


Winter, J. (2002). Frida. Illustrated by Ana Juan. New York: Scholastic Books.
Book Type/Pages:
Picture/32 pages


Grade Level:

pre-kindergarten through fifth grade

Curriculum Links:

art

Author Credibility:

Jonah Winter has written several children’s books, including Diego, a book about Frida Kahlo’s husband, Diego Rivera. In the author’s note, he lists biographical information about Frida Kahlo. Due to polio and an accident, she spent much of her time in bed and used painting and drawing as a way to deal with her frustration.

Awards:

ALA Notable BookAméricas Award Honor Book



Society of Illustrators’ Original Art Show selection


Parenting Magazine Best Book of 2002


2002 Parents’ Choice Gold Award (includes both English and Spanish texts)


National Association of Parenting Publications Gold Award

Book Summary:

This book is written for younger students and contains one to several sentences on each page indicating the significant events in the Frida’s life. She had polio as a child and spent most of her time in bed. She taught herself to draw as a way to combat her sadness. As she grows older, she studies science and finds that school is not challenging enough for her. She was involved in an accident on a school bus and spent more time in bed recuperating. Again, she turned to art as a way to deal with her confinement. Through her art and her life story, she became an inspiration to the Mexican people and people all over the world.

National/State Standards:

National art education standards:
Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others

Illustrations/Graphics:

The illustrations in this book were created with acrylics and wax on paper. The illustrations are breathtaking and cover each page. They are very style specific to Mexican folk art. The illustrations include many references to Mexican culture such as the Day of the Dead, native animals and symbols, and transportation. The illustrations were my favorite part of this book.

Access Features:

Important access features in this book include an author’s note and an artist’s note.

Writing Style:

The writing in this book is very simplistic. It is intended for younger audiences. This pictorial biography lists the life events of Frida Kahlo in sequential order.

Use in My Classroom:

I would use this book in a unit on art, biographies, Mexico, or women’s studies.

My Response to the Book:

I loved this book! I had heard of Frida Kahlo before but did not know much about her life. The illustrations in this book are thoughtful and beautiful. I really got a fell for the Mexican culture. While reading this book, I discovered that Frida was married to another artist that I read about, Diego Rivera. The book about Rivera did not mention that he was married.

Related Texts:

Other books about Frida Kahlo:
Frida Kahlo: The Artist Who Painted Herself by Margaret Frith
Frida Kahlo (Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists) by Mike Venezia

Seurat and La Grande Jatte: Connecting the Dots by Robert Burleigh #18


Burleigh, R. (2004) Seurat and La Grande Jatte: Connecting the dots. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Incorporated.
Book Type/Pages:

Picture/31


Grade Level:

Third through fifth grades

Curriculum Links:

Art

Author Credibility:

Robert Burleigh has written many books for children. This was published in association with the The Art Institute of Chicago. In the acknowledgments, the author thanks curators from The Art Institute of Chicago for their help.

Awards:

2005 Orbis Pictus Award

Book Summary:

This book is about the Georges Seurat and his artwork, “La Grande Jatte.” The author describes the park that is in the painting and how it demonstrates a common Sunday in the 1800’s. Burleigh takes different people and elements in the painting and uses them to show how life might have been during Seurat’s time.

National/State Standards:

National Art Education Standards:
Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas
Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and culture
Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others

Illustrations/Graphics:

The illustrations in this book are mostly reproductions of Seurat’s work. Because this mostly deconstructs Seurat’s “La Grande Jatte,” portions of this piece are shown in different scopes. Many illustrations show different parts of this piece in great detail.

Access Features:

Important access features in this book include a chronology of events from Seurat’s life, an author’s note, a glossary, selected bibliography, and acknowledgements. There is also a half page of illustration credits.

Writing Style:

Burleigh uses questioning throughout the book to create interest in the reader. Each question is followed by a detailed analysis of the art work. The overall tone of the book is informal and conversational.

Use in My Classroom:

I would use this in my classroom as an introduction to art analysis. Burleigh does an excellent job of deconstructing the different elements within the painting.

My Response to the Book:

I liked this book! I thought it was a clever way to write about one particular art piece as opposed to writing about the artist’s life and their art was in the background. I learned more about this famous painting and the process Seurat undertook to complete it.

Related Texts:

Other books about Georges Seurat:
Georges Seurat (Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists) by Mike Venezia
Sunday with Seurat by Julie Merberg

Diego by Jonah Winter #17


Winter, J. (1991). Diego. Illustrations by Jeanette Winter. New York: Alfred A. Knope, Incorporated.

Book Type/Pages:

Picture/44



Grade Level:

Kindergarten through third grades

Curriculum Links:

Art

Author Credibility:

Jonah Winter has written several other children’s books, including one about Diego Rivera’s wife, Frida Kahlo. In the author’s note, he gives more biographical information on Diego Rivera’s life.

Awards:

New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award
Reading Rainbow Book

Book Summary:

This book is about the life of Diego Rivera and how it influenced his art. Diego was born in Guanajuato, Mexico. His twin, Carlos, died before he turned two years old. Diego then fell ill and went to live in the mountains with an Indian healer while recovering. Upon his return home, he began drawing. As he grew older, he drew everyday things and people that he saw at home in Mexico. As an adult, he traveled to Europe to study painting. He never forgot Mexico, and he returned home to paint large murals of everyday life in Mexico.

National/State Standards:

National Art Education Standards:
Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others

Illustrations/Graphics:

The illustrations were done by the author’s wife, Jeanette Winter. The illustrations appear to be watercolor and collage. Each page has a large illustration with accompanying text in English and Spanish. The illustrations are colorful and appear almost cartoon-like. Each illustration is surrounded by a decorative border. The illustrations are beautifully done.

Access Features:

Important access features in this book include Spanish translation of the text on each page and an author’s note with additional biographical information on Diego Rivera. The author’s note is also translated in Spanish.

Writing Style:

The text is written very simplistically with one to two sentences per page. The writing style is conversational and informal in tone.

Use in My Classroom:

I would use this book as a part of unit on Mexico or artist’s biographies.

My Response to the Book:

I thought this was a good book. It would be good to use to show some diversity in the area of art. I enjoyed the easy to read text and colorful illustrations. The accompanying text in Spanish was great as well. I have read another book to students with English and Spanish text and they enjoyed hearing both read aloud.

Related Texts:

Other books by Jonah Winter:
Frida
The 39 Apartments of Ludwig Van Beethoven
Roberto Clemente: Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates

Van Gogh: The Touch of Yellow by Jacqueline Loumaye #16

Loumaye, J. (1993). Van Gogh: The touch of yellow. Illustrated by Claudine Roucha. New York: Chelsea House Publishers.

Book Type/Pages:

Chapter/61


Grade Level:

Third through sixth grades

Curriculum Links:

Art

Author Credibility:

Jacqueline Loumaye has written several books for children on artists. This book is part of a series called Art for Children, in which an artist is spotlighted. The text information matches the chronology at the back of the book.

Awards:

I could not locate any awards for this book.

Book Summary:

This is a book about the life of artist Vincent Van Gogh. The characters in the story, an uncle his niece and nephew, set out to authenticate a family painting as an original Van Gogh. Through the course of the book, they speak with experts and visit museums displaying his work where more information about Van Gogh is revealed. They travel to different parts of Europe, visiting different homes of the famous artist. During their travels, they learn more about Van Gogh’s childhood, and the different stages his art went through. At the end of the story, the painting is not authenticated, but the family is happy to have learned more about Vincent Van Gogh and his work.

National/State Standards:


National Art Education Standards:
Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and culture
Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others

Illustrations/Graphics:

The illustrations in this book consisted of a mix of watercolor illustrations by Claudine Roucha, reproductions of Van Gogh’s paintings, and photographs. At the back of the book is a listing of locations of Van Gogh’s work featured in the book. Photographic credits are also listed at the back and are varied in source. The illustrations are simple in this book, perhaps to not detract from the reproductions of Van Gogh’s work throughout the book.

Access Features:

Important access features in this book include a table of contents, glossary, chronology of events in Van Gogh’s life, a location guide to Van Gogh’s paintings in the story, and photographic credits.

Writing Style:

The writing style is informal. The story is told from the grandfather’s point of view, which I found to be confusing to follow at times.

Use in My Classroom:

I would use this book during a study of famous artists, biographies, or a study of impressionialists artists.

My Response to the Book:

It took me awhile to get into this book. I was very interested in the subject matter so I kept reading. The format of the book threw me off some. I can appreciate the author’s attempt to make the book more interesting by having fictional characters learn more about Van Gogh in the search to authenticate their uncle’s painting as an original Van Gogh. After reading the book I found Van Gogh to be interesting enough on his own that just telling his story would be interesting enough. Van Gogh was quite disturbed and it is sad that he never lived to see his own fame. I think that may have helped with some of his problems.

Related Texts:

Other books about Vincent van Gogh:
The Yellow House: Vincent van Gogh & Paul Gauguin Side by Side by Susan Goldman Rubin
The Yellow House: Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Nine Turbulent Weeks in Arles by Martin Gayford
Van Gogh (Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists series) by Mike Venezia
Vincent Van Gogh: Sunflowers and Swirly Stars by Joan Holub
In the Garden with Van Gogh by Julie Merberg

Good Brother, Bad Brother: The Story of Edwin Booth and John Wilkes Booth by James Cross Giblin (4 books) #12, 13, 14, 15



Giblin, J.C. (2005). Good brother, bad brother: The story of Edwin Booth and John Wilkes Booth. New York: Clarion Books.
Book Type/Pages:

Chapter/256


Grade Level:

seventh-twelfth grades

Curriculum Links:

social studies

Author Credibility:

James Cross Giblin has written several award winning books for young people. In the bibliography and source notes section of this book, Giblin references several biographies he used to gather information for this book. He also lists primary source documents consisting of correspondence between Edwin Booth and his friend William Winter, recollective writings done by Edwin’s daughter, Edwina, writings by John Wilkes Booth, and a memoir by Edwin and John’s sister Asia. He also lists other book titles he used to gain background knowledge.

Awards:

2006 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People
Boston-Globe Horn Book Honor

Book Summary:

This is a biography of Edwin Booth and John Wilkes Booth. It is quite comprehensive, starting with their parents and concluding at the death of Edwin Booth. The book gives details about the brothers and their careers in theatre. In the background of the story is information about the rest of their siblings and their parents. Edwin went on tour with his father, Junius Brutus Booth, a well known stage actor, when he was in his early teens. His main task was to keep his father from drinking. It was during this time that he started his acting career. Edwin was described as reserved, shy, and patriotic to the Union beliefs of abolishing slavery. John Wilkes Booth, younger than Edwin by five years, was described as headstrong, wild, and impulsive. His political beliefs aligned with those of the Confederacy. The book follows both brothers in their careers, chronicles the plans for kidnapping Abraham Lincoln, the assassination, and the years after and their effects on the Booth family.

National/State Standards:

Social Studies standards:
Individual Development and Identity
Power, Authority, and Governance

Illustrations/Graphics:

This book contains many portrait photographs, newspaper headlines, playbills, and some paintings from many different sources. All photographs are in black and white. The photos were clear and gave great detail to each subject.

Access Features:

Important access features in this book include acknowledgments, table of contents, chapter divisions (there are twenty-two) with summarizing titles, bibliography, source notes by chapter, and index.

Writing Style:

The author used a very relaxed tone in his writing. The feel of it was very intimate, which I did not feel gave a professional and accurate tone. Because of the causal nature of the writing, I found myself questioning the validity of the information. There were not a lot of vivid descriptions.

Use in My Classroom:

This book is intended for older students than I currently teach. If I was teaching American history to high school students, I may use this book in a study of Abraham Lincoln and his assassination.

My Response to the Book:

I liked this book by the time I got to the ending. As I started to read it, I wasn’t enthralled. I thought about abandoning the book, but it was close to the part where Abraham Lincoln was shot and I wanted to know more about how it impacted the Booth family. Because of its length, I do not think this is a book that I would read with my students. I did learn new things while reading this book.

Related Texts:

Other books by James Cross Giblin:
Secrets of the Sphinx
The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler
The Amazing Life of Benjamin Franklin
Charles A. Lindbergh: A Human Hero

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson #11


Nelson, M. (2005). A wreath for Emmett Till. Illustrated by Philippe Lardy. Boston, MA:
Houghton Mifflin Company.

Book Type/Pages:

Picture/48



Grade Level:

fifth grade through high school

Curriculum Links:

social studies

Author Credibility:

Marilyn Nelson has written several award winning poetry books. For this book, she writes in her introductions that she researched information on lynching. She also mentioned knowing she would write about Emmett Till since the tragedy happened when she was nine and was a part of her life from then on. In the back of the book, she lists a bibliography of books about Emmett Till.


Awards:

2006 Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People
2006 Coretta Scott King Honor Book
2006 Michael L. Printz Award
2005 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award
2006 ALA Best Book for Children
2006 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award Honor
2005 Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year
2005 Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year
2005 Booklist Editors’ Choice
2006 Notable Children’s Book in the area of Language Arts

Book Summary:

This is a book written about Emmett Till. It is written in a series of sonnets. The book builds a wreath or crown of flowers in memory of Emmett Till while weaving the sonnets together. Symbolism in the illustrations and within the poem reflects the honor that Emmett’s memory deserves.

National/State Standards:

Social Studies Standards:
Time, Continuity, and Change
Individuals, Groups, and Institutions
Power, Authority, and Governance

Illustrations/Graphics:

The illustrations of this book are made from tempera paint on cardboard. Most of the illustrations cover an entire page. There are also several two page spreads that are just illustrations. The illustrations are powerful and symbolic of the hate crime they represent. One illustration is of coffins with flowers inside and one contains the silhouette of Emmett Till. When turned on their side, these coffins resemble the Twin Towers. In the artist’s note, he gives explanation to his choice of illustrations and what each part represents.

Access Features:

Important access features in this book include an introduction by the author titled “How I Came to Write This Poem,” biographical information on Emmett Till, sonnet notes that explains the symbolism in each sonnet, an artist’s note and a reference list. Each two page spread consists of one sonnet and an accompanying illustration.

Use in My Classroom:

This would be a book I would use in the study of the Civil Rights Movement and Black History Month.

My Response to the Book:

This was an interesting book. The poem format was engaging and allowed the story to be told with numerous symbols. This is a book that would generate a heated discussion with my students and would cause them to think. I believe it would be a great spark for a series of class discussions on race relations.

Related Texts:

The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles.
If a Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks by Faith Ringgold
Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport
Rosa by Nikki Giovanni
The Forbidden Schoolhouse: The True and Dramatic Story of Prudence Crandell and
Students
by Suzanne Jurmain
Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom
by Carole Boston Weatherford
Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges
Martin Luther King, Jr. by Mary Winget

Related Web Site referenced in the book:
www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/till

What Do You Do With a Tail Like This? by Steve Jenkins #10


Jenkins, S. (2003). What do you do with a tail like this? Illustrated by Robin Page.
Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Book Type/Pages:

Picture/32



Grade Level:

This book could be used for pre-kindergarten to second grade.

Curriculum Links:

This book could be used in science instruction.

Author Credibility:

Steve Jenkins has written many books for children. According to his web site, stevejenkins.com, he states that he wrote this book after noticing how his son, age 5, liked books that asked him a riddle or to answer a question.

Awards:

2004 Caldecott Honor Book

Book Summary:

This is a book about different animal parts and their unique uses. Several animals are showcased on each page by related part and then the use for each is explained in easy to read and understand text. Each section is divided by common body parts such as noses, tails, mouth and more.

National/State Standards:

Science Standards:
Life Science

Illustrations/Graphics:

The illustrations in this book are done in cut-paper collage. Each illustration is bright and colorful and catches the eye. Each group of body parts are done close up and are followed by a two page spread of the entire animal. The collage gives texture to the illustrations and makes them appear as 3D illustrations.

Access Features:

Important access features of this book include an index at the end of the book that gives additional information on each animal. Accompanying the information is a thumbnail size illustration of the animal from the text for easy identification.

Use in My Classroom:

I would use this book in my classroom during a unit on animals. Even though this book is geared for younger readers, I think that older students would still enjoy it. The short text makes it easy to read and would be a welcome addition for lower readers during science instruction. Many times, the level of reading required in science is too difficult for lower readers and they become frustrated. This book would be read by many students in my class regardless of reading level.

My Response to the Book:

I thought this was a great book! There were many things that I learned! I did not know that a skunk will often balance itself on its front paws and spray its enemy over its back. I found myself sharing this book and the information I learned with my husband. This is a must have for my science library.

Related Texts:

Look What Tails Can Do by D.M. Souza
Look What Mouths Can Do by D.M. Souza
Look What Whiskers Can Do by D.M. Souza
Look What Feet Can Do by D.M. Souza

Rosa by Nikki Giovanni #9


Giovanni, N. (2005). Rosa. Illustrated by Bryan Collier. New York: Henry Holt and
Company.

Book Type/Pages:

Picture/40



Grade Level:

This book is appropriate for grades two through five.

Curriculum Links:

I would use this book in social studies instructions.

Author Credibility:

Nikki Giovanni has written several children’s books. No information about her research was listed in the book. There is an author’s note where she states it is an “honor and a responsibility to explore the bravery of her acceptance of history’s challenge.”

Awards:

2006 Caldecott Honor Book
Coretta Scott King Award
Child Magazine Best Book of the Year

Book Summary:

This is a book that tells about Rosa Parks and the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama. The book begins on December 1, 1955, and goes through the events that occurred during the long boycott. It shows how one woman’s decision to stand up for what was right, led to a revolution for civil rights for all Americans.

National/State Standards:

Social Studies Standards:
Time, Continuity, and Change
Individuals, Groups, and Institutions
Power, Authority, and Governance

Illustrations/Graphics:

Bryan Collier used water and collage in the illustrations for this book. In the illustrator’s note, he indicated he wanted to the illustrations to appear as if light emanated from Rosa. The illustrations are beautiful and cover most of the two page spreads. The illustrations show a strong woman standing up for what she believes in.

Access Features:

Important access features in this book include an author’s note and illustrator’s note .

Use in My Classroom:

I would use this book during units in the Civil Rights Movement and Black History Month.

My Response to the Book:

I liked this book. It was easy to read and understand and the illustrations are wonderful. I liked reading about Dr. Robinson, an African-American female college professor at Alabama State, and her involvement in organizing the bus boycott. This is a book that I am sure my students would enjoy. I plan on using this book during my Black History Month lessons.

Related Texts:

Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom
by Carole Boston Weatherford
A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson
Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport
Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges
Martin Luther King, Jr. by Mary Winget