I like the idea of a tiny pink Elephant named Pomelo, the illustrations were super cute (they would be great for individual prints to decorate a child...moreI like the idea of a tiny pink Elephant named Pomelo, the illustrations were super cute (they would be great for individual prints to decorate a child’s bedroom), and the ideas for color descriptions were very original. However, I think this book, like its predecessor (insert title) fell a little flat. Let me explain. The book is all about Pomelo and his friends learning about different colors and how amazing it is to live in a multi-colored world. That part is fine. It seems like the intended audience for this book is toddlers/preschoolers who are just learning their colors, and despite the small pages, I don’t think this age group will pay attention for the entire length of the book. It is something like 70 pages. My 2 ½ year old lost interest somewhere around the second color. They definitely thought outside the box when picking the color descriptions, like “the mysterious blue of dreams”, “the comforting white of dandelions” and “the foamy white of hot milk”. The book would make a fun creative book for older kids, maybe do a lesson on colors or poetry. Recommended for ages 3+, 3 stars.(less)
I really enjoyed this book! The Pre-Raphaelites are one of my favorite periods of art, so I’m always glad to read a story related to them. Effie Gray...moreI really enjoyed this book! The Pre-Raphaelites are one of my favorite periods of art, so I’m always glad to read a story related to them. Effie Gray was a beautiful educated young woman when she married art critic John Ruskin at age 19. Ruskin had become obsessed with her at age 12, but when he saw her on their wedding night, it was not what he had expected. I did some research on him after reading the book and it looks like he was not homosexual as some have suggested but may have been a pedophile, although looking at child pornography was not illegal or considered dangerous during the Victorian Age. It can be linked through several of his relationships with young girls that he usually fell in love with them at a very young age, but was less interested once they got older. In any case, he did not consummate his marriage to Effie, even though they were married for 6 or 7 years. Effie wanted to get out of the marriage, and so filed for annulment and Ruskin was pronounced impotent. While she was married to Ruskin, she fell in love with Ruskin’s young protégé, John Everett Millais, whom she later married.
This first half of the book was fascinating and very well-done. Although Ruskin is made to look like a crazy pervert and his parents come off rather creepy as well, I’m still very curious about his books as they sound fascinating. It seems that Effie did marry a very brilliant man, but one with almost no social skills. I rather think the author should’ve stopped the book at the halfway mark, but she decided to continue and talk about Effie and Millais’s (or Everett as he was known) marriage, their children, and Everett’s art career with and after the Pre-Raphaelites. There was a lot of talk calling Everett a sell-out after he left the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (or PRB), but I think he was ingenious. Unlike a lot of other artists of the period, he had to support himself and his wife and eight children, so he did whatever he had to do to survive and make money. So yes, his picture style naturally changes from the Medieval/detailed look of his earlier pictures to the more Aesthetic-looking pictures of his later career. Pretty much everyone knows who Millais is from one of his PRB paintings “Ophelia” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ophelia_...). I liked how much Effie and her family were and how much she depended on them to deal with her marriages and loss of children. I thought the chapter on Sophy Gray, Effie’s younger Gray, particularly interesting. As to whether or not Sophy and Everett had an affair, I cannot speculate on that. It is intriguing to note that there will be two movies out in 2014 about Effie Gray, though I think I will see the one written by Emma Thompson. 4 stars. (less)
I picked up this book first after reading Christopher Moore's book "Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d'Arte" because I was fascinated with Moore's interpretation...moreI picked up this book first after reading Christopher Moore's book "Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d'Arte" because I was fascinated with Moore's interpretation of Henri Toulouse-Latrec and wanted to find out more. Before delving into a thick academic book, which I also got, I decided to see how a children's nonfiction author would handle the artist. I was honestly wondering if would be possible to pull a book like this off, especially as a book for older elementary school children, without going into a discussion about drugs, alcohol and sex, three things which let's face it did influence Toulouse-Lautrec's artwork. I thought the author did an good job at explaining the basics about Toulouse-Lautrec's life. He was a considered a dwarf because of a hereditary bone condition and having broke both his legs as a child and they never healed properly, so the man was not quite five feet tall. Despite this, as the book explains, he was quite popular with everyone and very entertaining. Even though he came from an aristocratic family, he painted everyday scenes of contemporary Parisian life, such as the people that went to the various dance halls and circuses of the time, which were the main source of entertainment for those that lived in and around Montmartre. The amount of artwork the artist did in a 15 year period is mind-blowing. Very well-researched book, and the author does explain a bit more about the artist in the author's note in the back, along with a thorough bibliography. I am very interested in learning much more about Toulouse-Lautrec in the future. Recommended for ages 9-12, 4 stars. (less)
I have known about this book for awhile, but for whatever reason, I never picked it up though I find the subject matter fascinating. The book won the...moreI have known about this book for awhile, but for whatever reason, I never picked it up though I find the subject matter fascinating. The book won the 1974 Caldecott Honor and rightly so as it is a very well-done. The book shows the development, building and completion of a Gothic Cathedral in France in the 13th century, over the course of eighty years. Though it was originally created for children, I would use this book as a way to explain Art History to college students as it clearly explains the information without dumbing it down to the reader. I cannot wait to read his Caldecott Honor book on castles! Recommended for ages 9+, 5 stars. (less)
This was a good group of movie lists for both well-known and slightly obscure titles. I didn't know until after I started reading it that it was produ...moreThis was a good group of movie lists for both well-known and slightly obscure titles. I didn't know until after I started reading it that it was produced by the ALA (American Library Association), which is pretty cool. I made a list of about 20 films that I would like to watch from the book. 4 stars. (less)
Normally I like a really in-depth look at art history, but this time it just annoyed me. This book was supposed to be an in-between book but it was ta...moreNormally I like a really in-depth look at art history, but this time it just annoyed me. This book was supposed to be an in-between book but it was taking so long to finish, I had to completely stop it about halfway through so I could listen to the other book I had on hold. While it is interesting to hear about how an artist actually completes a fresco, I found it boring that they spent so much time going over it. I found the personal history of Michelangelo, his relationship with Pope Julius II (Giuliano del Rovere) and the description of the Sistine Chapel itself much more fascinating. I knew of the Pope because I had seen the sculptures that Michelangelo completed for his unfinished tomb, which was originally supposed to go in St Peter's Basilica but ended up in San Pietro in Vincoli (St Peter in Chains). The church's name come from the relic of St Peter, who was imprisoned with the chains in Jerusalem. But also I knew him from my obsession with the Borgias, as he was Alexander VI's most hated rival, who became pope after Rodrigo Borgia died. It was interesting to know that Michelangelo did not paint the ceiling of his own free will, but was rather forced into it by rival Donato Bramante (the architect whose plans were later executed by Michelangelo when the project to re-build St Peter's Basilica was finally completed). Michelangelo's work became the gold standard for thousands of artists to copy through the centuries. He also did not paint the ceiling on his back, as Charlton Heston would have you believe in the movie version of "The Agony and the Ecstasy". I had no idea that he hated Raphael so much either. I learned enough about Raphael's work in the Vatican apartments for me to want to research him next, as I know the basics about his work, but not much about the artist himself. 4 stars. (less)