I'm sharing three picture books this week connecting to art, two more directly than others.
Ivan, The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla – written by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by Gl. Brian Karas
Finally had the extreme pleasure of reading this. After reading The One and Only Ivan, I thought the story was told, but not exactly. Here it is really shared, the sad and happy times, and the connections, to the children who grew up visiting him at the mall, to his keeper at Zoo Atlanta, and to Katherine Applegate. One line touched me about Ivan and his companion baby gorilla Burma, who died shortly after being captured: they were ordered by the shopping mall owner, “like a couple of pizzas, like a pair of shoes.” The illustrations are gentle depictions of Ivan’s story. Ivan’s picture book continues his story, this time for younger children to learn of all animals who are still being captured and misused today.
Edward Hopper, Summer At The Seashore -Published in 2002 in the Adventures in Art series-text written by Deborah Lyons
This offers some background and information of Hopper’s youth, his upbringing by the Hudson River, and his life in various seaside locations, including Cape Cod. It’s written in a textbook style, but includes many pictures of Hopper’s work, and some explanation of the style for which he is known. I love his work, so bought this a long time ago just to learn more about Hopper.
Edward Hopper Paints His World – written by Robert Burleigh and illustrated by Wendell Minor
Considering the two artists who created this book, how can I have anything but love for it? A bit of a different story is told here from the earlier one about Hopper. In that one, it shared that Hopper loved to sail, even made his own boat as a teen and considered becoming a boat designer. In this one, it emphasizes that he wrote on his pencil box at a very young age, Edward Hopper, would-be artist. The story tells of the struggling artist who went to art school in NYC, then on to Paris to study, then back to New York City. He worked for years trying to sell his work, and finally became celebrated for his unique style and subject matter. He said he painted what he saw, but also what happened in his imagination. In the backmatter, Wendell Minor shares that he discovered that there was no such diner in Hopper’s very famous “Nighthawks”. It became apparent to many that while Hopper painted what he “saw’, at times what that meant was what he “saw” in his imagination. Minor has included several of Hopper’s works into Burleigh’s story, using his own techniques—more clear and crisp—but one does recognize them. It’s a lovely book for young artists to read, enjoy, and be inspired by.