A fine introduction to an important American artist.

DOROTHEA LANGE

THE PHOTOGRAPHER WHO FOUND THE FACES OF THE DEPRESSION

“One of the leading documentary photographers of the twentieth century” comes to life in Weatherford’s latest historical work.

Weatherford dedicates the volume to “all who dare to see,” and that is exactly what Dorothea Lange did: she dared to see and documented what she saw—hunger, poverty, soup kitchens, breadlines, internment camps, and bloody strikes. Weatherford never talks down to her audience as she describes how Lange tackled these subjects, using figurative language and rich vocabulary to tell her story: “Dorothea donned a cloak of invisibility to pass the vagabonds in New York’s Bowery neighborhood.” She concludes the volume with a full treatment of how Lange’s iconic Migrant Mother photograph came to be. Green’s debut as a picture-book illustrator is brilliant. The cover perfectly captures Lange perched on a car, camera ready, surrounded by the gray landscape of the Dust Bowl. Green varies her palette, from bright scenes with Matisse-like images and colors to angular gray cityscapes to landscapes and mountain vistas done in lovely earth tones. Wisely, she doesn’t try to imitate Lange’s photographs too closely, simply painting them in black and white and making the images of people simple and child-friendly. A two-page “About Dorothea Lange” section concludes the volume with additional information.

A fine introduction to an important American artist. (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1699-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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A picture book worth reading about a historical figure worth remembering.

THE AMAZING AGE OF JOHN ROY LYNCH

An honestly told biography of an important politician whose name every American should know.

Published while the United States has its first African-American president, this story of John Roy Lynch, the first African-American speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, lays bare the long and arduous path black Americans have walked to obtain equality. The title’s first three words—“The Amazing Age”—emphasize how many more freedoms African-Americans had during Reconstruction than for decades afterward. Barton and Tate do not shy away from honest depictions of slavery, floggings, the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow laws, or the various means of intimidation that whites employed to prevent blacks from voting and living lives equal to those of whites. Like President Barack Obama, Lynch was of biracial descent; born to an enslaved mother and an Irish father, he did not know hard labor until his slave mistress asked him a question that he answered honestly. Freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, Lynch had a long and varied career that points to his resilience and perseverance. Tate’s bright watercolor illustrations often belie the harshness of what takes place within them; though this sometimes creates a visual conflict, it may also make the book more palatable for young readers unaware of the violence African-Americans have suffered than fully graphic images would. A historical note, timeline, author’s and illustrator’s notes, bibliography and map are appended.

A picture book worth reading about a historical figure worth remembering. (Picture book biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5379-0

Page Count: 50

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE

            The legions of fans who over the years have enjoyed dePaola’s autobiographical picture books will welcome this longer gathering of reminiscences.  Writing in an authentically childlike voice, he describes watching the new house his father was building go up despite a succession of disasters, from a brush fire to the hurricane of 1938.  Meanwhile, he also introduces family, friends, and neighbors, adds Nana Fall River to his already well-known Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, remembers his first day of school (“ ‘ When do we learn to read?’  I asked.  ‘Oh, we don’t learn how to read in kindergarten.  We learn to read next year, in first grade.’  ‘Fine,’ I said.  ‘I’ll be back next year.’  And I walked right out of school.”), recalls holidays, and explains his indignation when the plot of Disney’s “Snow White” doesn’t match the story he knows.  Generously illustrated with vignettes and larger scenes, this cheery, well-knit narrative proves that an old dog can learn new tricks, and learn them surpassingly well.  (Autobiography.  7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23246-X

Page Count: 58

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1999

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