Art, Biography

Out of This World: The Surreal Art of Leonora Carrington By Michelle Markel

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Back of Book:
Ever since she was a little girl, Leonora Carrington loved to draw on walls, in books, on paper—and she loved the fantastic tales her grandmother told that took her to worlds that shimmered beyond this one, where legends became real.
Leonora’s parents wanted her to become a proper English lady, but there was only one thing she wanted, even if it was unsuitable: to be an artist. In London, she discovered a group of artists called surrealists, who were stunning the world with their mysterious creations. This was the kind of art she had to make. This was the kind of person she had to be.
From life in Paris creating art alongside Max Ernst, to Mexico where she met Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, Leonora’s life became intertwined with powerful events and people that shaped the twentieth century.

I received a copy of this picture book from author Michelle Markel in exchange for an honest review.

Michelle has created a stunning and eye-opening picture book biography about Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington. The story follows her life from childhood to an adult. When she discovers the art of Surrealism, Leonora also discovers her passion and her calling. I love that the text refers to other prominent female artists like Remedios Varo. It allows readers to learn about the Surrealist time period. The illustrations by Amanda Hall beautifully capture the art and colors of the Surrealist Movement. The back of the book has author and illustrator notes sharing with readers more about the process of capturing Leonora’s life. This is an excellent book to share with anyone with a true appreciation of art.
Ages 6 and up
40 Pages

Art

A Paintbrush for Paco by Tracey Kyle

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Back of Book:
Paco loves daydreaming and drawing, but he struggles to concentrate during class. When his profesor takes him to the art room, Paco is amazed by the colorful paints: pink, rosado; purple, morado; fiery orange, anaranjado; and more! Could art be just what Paco needs?

My Review:
I am so glad that I received a cop of this book from author Tracey Kyle. It is a beautiful story about the power that art can have on a child. The text is exciting, and rhymes which allows readers to stay engaged and enjoy the story. I love that the book shows the importance of incorporating art in the classroom. I agree with Tracy’s message that art needs to stay a part of the curriculum in classrooms. Every teacher has had a child who is talented in art like Paco. This book shows these students that their art is a gift, and should be celebrated. There are several Spanish words that are perfectly sprinkled throughout the text which creates a perfect bilingual story for young readers. The illustrations from Joshua Heinsz are simply stunning! The colors are bright and vibrant! The back of the book has a great author note, as well as a detailed glossary with Spanish words, English words, and pronunciation. I cannot wait to share this book in my classroom. A must have in all classroom libraries.
Ages 5 and up
40 Pages

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Art, Uncategorized

Something from Nothing by Damian Synadinos

 

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Back of Book:

“Hank and Stella in Something From Nothing” is an engaging story that helps children laugh while they learn and improve through improv.

Theatrical improv(isation) is, essentially, making something from nothing. Players create and perform shows simultaneously and in the moment, without a script, props, or costumes. And, the fundamental principles and skills of improv are as useful on stage as they are at play and in life!

The story takes place on a boring, grey, and rainy day as Stella the bunny and Hank the dog learn about improv and discuss focusing on the present, getting and exploring ideas, reacting to accidents and mistakes, the importance of practice, and the benefits of diversity. The story ends with Hank and Stella inviting the reader to join them in an improv show, and even includes a few silly, simple games to help get kids started making improv shows of their own!

The book can help children develop their imaginations, play cooperatively, increase their confidence, and even conquer boring, grey, rainy days!

My Review:
I was very excited to receive a copy of this fun and unique story from the author Damian Synadinos.
I have never seen a picture book that teaches children how to do improve. The story follows Hank and Stella as they try to find something to do. They decide to create a show. I love that the text explains to readers what improve is. There are several categories and definitions that describe to readers how they can create their own show. The text rhymes which keeps readers engaged and smiling. The illustrations are sweet and fun. I love that Damian created thought bubbles so readers can see what Stella and Hank are describing. The back of the book has a list of improv games so that readers can put on their own show. I am looking forward to sharing this book with my classroom.
Ages 5 and up
44 Pages

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Art, Biography

Vincent Can’t Sleep: Van Gogh Paints the Night Sky By Barb Rosenstock

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Back of Book: Vincent van Gogh often found himself unable to sleep and wandered under starlit skies. Those nighttime experiences provided the inspiration for many of his paintings, including his most famous, The Starry Night. Van Gogh sold only one painting in his lifetime—but he continued to pursue his unique vision, and ultimately became one of the most beloved artists of all time.
My Review:
Vincent Van Gogh is one of the most famous painters of all times. I have read many picture books about him as an adult, but I have never read one about him as a child. Vincent Can’t Sleep is a different look at how Vincent’s childhood shaped his art. I love that this book is the perfect balance of teaching readers about Vincent’s mental illness without creating a negative image of him. The text gives readers a well -rounded look about the man whose art has inspired millions. The illustrations are detailed and simply breathtaking. The back of book has a great author’s note that discusses more about Vincent van Gogh. This is a great biography picture book to share in the classroom or library.
Ages 6 and up
40 Pages

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Art

Ellie By Mike Wu

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Back of Book:
The zoo is closing!

Ellie and her friends want to save their home, but Ellie’s just a baby elephant, and she doesn’t know what she can do to help.

While the other animals are busy working, Ellie finds a brush and some paints, and gives the zoo a big splash of color! Will her bright new talent be enough to keep the zoo’s gates open for good?
My Review:
I was in Barns in Noble today and I stumbled upon this gem of a story. Ellie is a small elephant in the zoo. When she finds out that the zoo is closing, she tries to find a way to keep it open. One day she picks up a paintbrush, and finds a way to save the zoo. I can’t even begin to tell you how adorable this story is. Readers will cheer Ellie on as she saves the zoo. The illustrations are friendly and childlike. The text is written fantastically and brings the animals to life. I hope that Mike Wu writes many more Ellie stories.
Ages 4 and up
40 Pages

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Art, Read Your World

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

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Back of Book:

 Somewhere in Brooklyn, a little boy dreams of being a famous artist, not knowing that one day he would make himself a king.

My Review:

When I heard that this book was a winner of a Caldecott Medal and a winner of a Coretta Scott Illustrator Award I knew I had to read it.  I did not know much about the great artist Jean Michel Basquiat and this story opened my eyes to his fight and challenges he faced to become the great artist he was. Jean was famous for his collage-style painting and the illustrations in this story mirror the authors work. I am so glad that this book received an award for its unique and breathtaking images. This is a perfect story to add to any collection. I would keep it for an older audience because some of it is a bit heavy for younger audiences to read and understand. Overall, I say a true winner and worth reading.

Ages 9 and up

40 Pages

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Art, School

Too Much Glue By Jason Lefebvre

 

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Back of Book:  Although Matty’s art teacher has warned him that too much glue never dries, Matty loves glue. After all, he and his dad make oodles of glue projects at home. One day during art class, Matty finds the fullest bottles of glue, and the fun begins. With a squeeze and a plop, Matty pours a lake of glue before belly-flopping right in the middle and finds himself stuck to the desk.

My Review:  Every teacher can relate to this fun and engaging story about a boy who gets a bit to excited about glue! We have all had that child in class who instead of a dot of glue uses half the bottle for one piece of a project. I am looking forward to reading this story to my students before we have art class this year. The illustrations in this book are fun and keep children interested in when Matty is going to do to get out of the glue. The ending is sweet and shows kids that it can be okay to get messy sometimes.

Ages 5 and up

32 Pages

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