Review of Time to Make Art

Time to Make Art Time to Make Art
by Jeff Mack; illus. by the author
Primary    Holt    48 pp.
1/24    9781250864666    $19.99

There are many misconceptions about what art is and what it should do. An inquisitive brown-skinned girl wants to know more about art and asks a series of simple yet profound questions about it. Each question is answered by a different artist, ranging from ancient to modern, world-famous to regionally known. Unlike many art surveys, this book presents a truly global perspective, putting Indigenous and non-Western art side-by-side with well-known Western artists as well as conceptual and avant-garde work. The girl asks questions such as “Can nothing be art?”; “Art can also be sad, right?”; and “Can art be something that I use?” The answers depend on who is doing the responding. Replies vary for the question “How long will it take to make art?”: a minute (Keith Haring); an hour (Eric Carle); a hundred hours (Christine Harvey). Should art look like what we see? An impressionist would answer with a hearty yes, but a post-impressionist like Van Gogh might think it’s better “when art looks like how I feel.” Digitally rendered illustrations feature each artist and a representation of their work. Back matter provides information on each artist and may spark hours of further research and discovery. A thoughtful look at art that will likely motivate budding artists to trust their creative intuition.

From the January/February 2024 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Julie Hakim Azzam

Calling Caldecott co-author Julie Hakim Azzam is the assistant director of the MFA program in the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She holds a PhD in literary and cultrual studies, with a specialization in comparative contemporary postcolonial literature from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Southeast Asia. Her most recent work focuses on children's literature, stories about immigrants and refugees, and youth coping with disability.

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