Visual arts

picasso i the king Visual artsBernier-Grand, Carmen T. Picasso: I the King, Yo el rey
High school  64 pp  Amazon

Illustrated by David Diaz. Free verse poems chronicle the dramatic life of modern art’s pinnacle figure. Rather than glossing over Picasso’s flaws — his womanizing, his self-absorption, etc. — they are Bernier-Grand’s intriguing focus. The poetry is powerful but challenging, though extensive back matter clarifies biographical details. Diaz’s acrylic, charcoal, and varnish illustrations are commanding; some reproductions of Picasso’s most famous works are also included. Timeline. Bib., glos.
Subjects: Visual arts; Spain; Foreign languages—Spanish language; Poetry; Artists; Biographies; Picasso, Pablo

history paintings Visual artsBodden, Valerie History Paintings
Middle school, high school  48 pp.  Creative Education

Bodden, Valerie Landscapes
Middle school, high school  48 pp.  Creative Education

Frisch-Schmoll, Joy Portraits
Middle school, high school  48 pp.  Creative Education

Frisch-Schmoll, Joy Still Lifes
Middle school, high school  48 pp.  Creative Education

Brushes with Greatness series. The history of painting is divided into four genres in these thorough, attractive volumes. Survey chapters are accompanied by crisp reproductions; interspersed throughout each book are four “Appreciating Art” sections focusing on famous paintings that exemplify the specific genre during various periods. Brief endnotes give readers general tips for doing additional research online. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Visual arts; Painting; Artists; Art appreciation; History, World; Landscapes

colorful dreamer Visual artsParker, Marjorie Blain Colorful Dreamer: The Story of Artist Henri Matisse
Gr. K–3  32 pp.  Dial

Illustrated by Holly Berry. This picture book biography opens in a dreary French village where young Henri Matisse didn’t “excel at much of anything — except, perhaps, dreaming.” As the story describes his years as an artist, Berry’s illustrations directly mimic Matisse’s Fauvist use of color and the artist’s maturing style. Parker’s lyrical text and Berry’s impressive mixed-media pictures fully encompass Matisse’s chronology, aspirations, and talents.
Subjects: Visual arts; Artists; Painting; Biographies; France; Matisse, Henri; Dreams and dreaming

tan birdking Visual artsTan, Shaun The Bird King: An Artist’s Notebook
Gr. 4–6  128 pp.  Scholastic/Levine

This collection of unpublished sketches is a treasure trove filled with fantastic, slightly creepy — yet endearing — creatures and provides a fascinating look into Tan’s artistic processes. After an introduction, the sketches, paintings, and dummy pages are organized into four sections: “untold stories,” “book, theater, and film,” “drawings from life,” and “notebooks.” A list of works included gives further information on each piece. Bib.
Subjects: Visual arts; Drawing; Imagination; Artists; Illustrators

13 art illusions children should know Visual artsVry, Silke 13 Art Illusions Children Should Know
Gr. 4–6  48 pp. Prestel

Children Should Know series. This latest volume in the attractive Children Should Know art appreciation series focuses on the ways that “art is deception.” Organized by type of illusion — including concealed messages, surrealism, hyperrealism (tromp l’oeil), contrast and color tricks, and spatial illusions in architecture — this large-format book contains thorough text, leading questions, sidebars, and captioned reproductions of works from throughout history that exemplify the intriguing concepts. Timeline. Glos.
Subjects: Visual arts; Art appreciation; Optical illusions

From the October 2013 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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