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The Mad Potter: George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  356 Ratings  ·  113 Reviews
When George Ohr's trove of pottery was discovered in 1967, years after his death, his true genius was discovered with it. The world could finally see how unique this artist really was!

Born in 1856 in Biloxi, Mississippi, George grew up to the sounds of the civil war and political unrest.When he was 22, his boyhood friend introduced him to the pottery wheel. The lost young
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Hardcover, 56 pages
Published October 29th 2013 by Roaring Brook Press (first published October 1st 2013)
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Once Upon a Road Trip by Angela N. BlountThe Nazi Hunters by Neal BascombThe First Pillar by Roy HuffImprisoned by Martin W. SandlerCourage Has No Color by Tanya Lee Stone
Young Adult Nonfiction 2013
6th out of 16 books — 12 voters
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Childrens NonFiction 2013
118th out of 119 books — 40 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 614)
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Joan
Feb 19, 2014 Joan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: students needing bios or budding artists
This is a biography of another artist I never heard of. That seems to be a theme of this year's award winners and honors. What makes this book are the photographs of Ohr's pottery. His pottery is art, not really useful stuff, or only incidentally useful. He never really made any money from the artwork but did manage a living from his more mundane creations. He told his children not to try to sell the artwork for at least 50 + years which was a pretty good estimation of when his art would start t ...more
Stephanie Tournas
Nov 01, 2013 Stephanie Tournas rated it really liked it
I had never heard of George Ohr, but that did not stop me from thoroughly enjoying this picture book biography of him. He was an "eccentric genius" potter from Biloxi, Mississippi, whose art was years ahead of his time. Eccentric in art, business and behavior, he never quite fit in to his generation at the turn of the 20th century. But, after crates of his pots, urns, pitchers and teapots were discovered in 1968, his work started to sell for prices that would have shocked even him.

Using archival
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Kathryn Moody
Aug 11, 2014 Kathryn Moody rated it it was ok
The photographs of Ohr's pottery were beautiful and unusual. The photographs of Ohr and his workshop and family were also very interesting. I was not thrilled with the writing and found the biographical narrative difficult to become involved and engaged with. Though I love stories of unusual characters, especially those unappreciated by their time or place, I did not feel compelled to this particular story. It was, however, very informative. Perhaps it would be more interesting to those who alre ...more
Peyton Boone
This is the story of George E. Ohr, also known as the "Mad Potter". George was born in 1857 in Biloxi, Mississippi. That's where the legend of the "Mad Potter" began. George Ohr's childhood was not that pleasant. When he was only four years old he and his family was caught in the midst of the Civil War. He was also known as the family's "bad boy" you could say he got blames for everything ( he even got blamed for no rain coming through Biloxi!). At age fourteen George was sick of fighting with ...more
Suzanne
Aug 13, 2015 Suzanne rated it it was amazing
A couple of years ago a friend of mine produced a Nebraska EducationalTelecommunications video (NET): EMERY BLAGDON AND HIS HEALING MACHINE. This book, The Mad Potter: George E. Oer Eccentric Genius,reminds me of this video. This biograpy tells the story of George E. Ohr. Blacksmith turned potter. Ohr was not famous during his lifetime, but to day his pottery,if it can be found, sells for eighty-four thousand to over a hundred thousand-- for one piece! Blagdon was a hermit who created from found ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
What an unusual subject for a children's book! I'd never heard of this guy before, but apparently one of his pots came up on "Antiques Roadshow" (see page 27), and I imagine that's how Greenberg may have gotten the idea to write this book. George Ohr was certainly a character, a true individual who knew how to market himself. His unique designs aren't always appealing to me, though I love some of the shapes he made (page 28!) and his unusual, metallic glazes. Who knew that this forgotten potter ...more
Natalie Payton
Summary/Critique:
The Mad Potter: George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius by Jan Greenberg is a nonfiction book about George Ohr and the discovery of his pottery after his death. George Ohr was born in the mid-1800s and grew up during the civil war. He was introduced to pottery and found his calling. He created pots, vases, and sculptures that expressed his eccentricity and unique personality. He took his collection to art shows, museums, and fairs but no one accepted his pieces. Since no one accepted hi
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Brooke Snyder
Oct 04, 2014 Brooke Snyder rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Summary: George Ohr was a very creative man who fell in love with pottery. His pottery was different than most and quite unique. He took is pottery to art shows, but nobody bought his art work because they thought it was odd. George hid his pottery all over, hoping it would be discovered one day and it was! His pottery was discovered after his death. Today, we see how creative George really was.

Personal Response/Critical Response: I’m not a big fan of this book. I don’t think children will be en
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Erin.painter
Question 1: Remembering
Can you tell me three things about George E. Ohr's childhood that is very different than you own?
1. His father was a blacksmith.
We can talk shortly about what a blacksmith is.
2. He only went to school until he was 13, and was working after that.
3. He lived during the Civil War.
I can point out also that the Civil War was fought on American soil, much different from modern wars.

Question 2: Understanding
How would you characterize Joseph Meyer in George Ohr's life?
1. Joseph wa
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Freya Hooper
May 29, 2014 Freya Hooper rated it really liked it
What this book is about:
George Ohr was eccentric, arrogant and brazen. He was a potter who crafted pots whose artistic merits were not recognized at the time, but who still became a Biloxi tourist attraction for his flamboyant style. Both he and his pots were “out there.” George sported a ridiculously long handlebar mustache which he wrapped around his ears. His pots were free form expressions, and no two are alike. While he wasn’t considered an artist by others at the time, despite his self pr
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Sunday
Read this aloud to my fifth grade daughter and we both enjoyed it thoroughly. I don’t usually review biographies, but this title is a Sibert Honor Book this year and I was curious. The authors tell the story of the life of George Ohr (born in 1857) – who was definitely eccentric. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with his life and he didn’t fit into the mainstream society. Then discovered a passion for pottery. What’s beautiful is how the authors detail Ohr’s sustained focus on developing his ...more
M.
Jan 22, 2015 M. rated it liked it
George Ohr may well have been a genius as a potter, but I don't think I would have liked the man. He carried his eccentricities and egoism to an extreme, probably to try to sell his pottery to people wanting to see the Mad Potter of Biloxi. I came away with the impression that his antics worked to the detriment of his wife and family in many cases. On the other hand, Ohr had a control over his medium and an inspiration that foresaw much of the modern movement in pottery. He was indeed a man befo ...more
Maureen
Jun 18, 2014 Maureen rated it really liked it
Six levels of Bloom's Taxonomy Questions:

Remembering

When (what grade) did George Ohr stop going to school?

Understanding

Describe what is meant by Ohr being called the “Mad Potter”?

Applying

Think of a situation in the story, and tell me what you would have done? (i.e. Ohr moving back home with $26.80 in his pocket to start his own pottery business, or how he handled his house and workplace burning to the ground)

Analyzing

Distinguish between George Ohr’s early works of pottery and his later works of
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Maria Burnham
Mar 06, 2014 Maria Burnham rated it really liked it
I read this book because I have been following the books that my local Chapter and Verse book club are discussing. For the month of February, we were set to discuss our favorite award winning books. In attempt to branch out from what I normally read, I picked up and started to read all of the award winning elementary level books.
This book, in particular, stood out to me as an interesting non-fiction read. I've always been a person who loves art (even though I'm not very good as an artist). I en
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Jim Erekson
Apr 08, 2014 Jim Erekson rated it liked it
Alternating between primary source photos and art photos of Ohr's pottery made this an engaging visual experience. The story of the crazy artist being ahead of his time is typical, but still fun to read. And this version put an American twist on it (not the Van Gogh-ish European story we're so used to).

If you ask me, Ohr's biggest marketing mistake was putting too much stuff on display--the display was the spectacle people came to see, and when they had seen it they felt no need to buy anything
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Debbie Armbruster
Apr 19, 2015 Debbie Armbruster rated it liked it
2014 Sibert Award Honor

I selected The Mad Potter: George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius to read after having seen it displayed in several middle school library collections. While I enjoyed the book for what it was - a biographical look at an artist who, despite artistic vision, remained in obscurity during his lifetime - I had some issues with the narrative thread of this text. I found it difficult to follow in spots, mainly because my eye was drawn instead to the period photographs and examples of Oh
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Bobbi
Jan 04, 2015 Bobbi rated it it was amazing
This tells the life story of George E. Ohr who built on a reputation as the "Mad Potter" to make a tourist attraction out of himself. His work was disregarded in his time and was rediscovered in the 70's for the art that it is. This fast paced biography takes the reader through Ohr's life from the time he was a young boy to his death as an old man. Ohr was interesting and his work is so beautiful that the book does not have to reach very hard to put together something engaging. This book can be ...more
Bethley Giles
Dec 07, 2014 Bethley Giles rated it liked it
Shelves: libs642, junior-books
Clark, G., Ellison, R. A., Hecht, E., & White, J. (1989). The mad potter of Biloxi: The art & life of George E. Ohr. New York: Abbeville Press.

2013 School Library Journal Best Books Nonfiction; Sibert Award

Informational Book

This non-fiction book details the life and works of George E. Ohr, a potter who many have never heard of. The pictures are what make this book interesting, and included personal pictures as well as beautiful pictures of his pottery. The book also includes "sensory wo
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Devan
Summary:
The Mad Potter was a biography of potter George E. Ohr. If followed his life and his development as a Potter. All his ups and downs in business where shown, and his family life was talked about as well. There are many examples of his work through the story with pictures and descriptions.
Critique:
The story does have a lot great information, but there was too much. The book is designated as a children's book, but at 19 years old, the story was to long with for me to read through it in one
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Kelly
May 18, 2014 Kelly rated it really liked it
Photographic endpapers begin the journey inside the life of the eccentric potter from post Civil War times. His Pot-Ohr-E was located in Biloxi, Mississippi and stuffed with a few practical items, but mostly art pottery of varying styles with ruffles, flutes, puzzles, and unique glazing. He had apprenticed, but was mostly self-taught and full of pride. His values mirrored the Arts and Crafts movement of the time. His pottery did not sell well until much after his death. Photographs of himself an ...more
Betsy
Mar 06, 2014 Betsy rated it really liked it
One Sentence Review: More fun than you'd expect (though the mustache on the cover almost gives it away) this bio of an obscure but ahead-of-his-time potter is admittedly not the usual children's fare, yet almost because of that fact it ends up being one of the best nonfiction works out there for the 9-12 year-old set.
Reshamad
Oct 27, 2014 Reshamad rated it it was amazing
George E Ohr was a 19th century American potter. He was largely unknown until years after his death, in 1967, a treasure trove of his work was discovered. “The Mad Potter” is a chapter book, picture book, biography.

This picture book non-fiction is a wonderful account of his life and work. Through photographs of George and photos of his pottery, this book showcases his genius. The authors present this fascinating biography of Geroge Ohr through colorful photos of the art, coupled with vintage sep
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Anne
Mar 16, 2014 Anne rated it really liked it
I was drawn to this book because of George Ohr’s wild and funny-looking mustache pictured on the front cover is one that grabbed my attention and the title The Mad Potter. Who was George Ohr? The book claims he was “The original do-it-yourselfer”. Ohr was an independent and imaginative American ceramic artist. Looking at his pieces, it is fun to think of what may or may not have inspired many of them. I wish I had one of his crazy and beautiful pots. I enjoyed reading about the time period that ...more
IndyPL Kids Book Blog
Jan 13, 2015 IndyPL Kids Book Blog rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
George E. Ohr was a potter from Biloxi Mississippi. He’s been dead for a long time – he was a little boy during the U.S.Civil War. Even so, when you read about him, it seems like you could just walk into his studio and start making stuff out of clay with him. He doesn’t seem old-fashioned or distant. He seems like a friend. He called his pots his “mud babies”. As you can see by his picture on the cover of this book – George was one-of-a-kind. There is another picture of him in this book with his ...more
Arminzerella
George E. Ohr was an outrageous potter from Biloxi, Mississippi with a huge personality (and a huge curling mustache) whose pottery and artistic vision were ahead of his time. While he was more notorious than famous in his own lifetime, when his pottery was "rediscovered" in the late 1960s, it became much sought-after by the collectors Ohr had hoped to attract in the early 1900s. This juvenile biography tells George's story as he struggled to find a purpose and then struggled to realize his pass ...more
Peg
Brief, well written introduction to George Ohr, a late 19th- early 20th century potter. Greenberg writes about his skill, possible genius, and eccentricities in a way that will keep youngsters reading. Art is in the eye of the beholder and while George knew what he made was art, the general or ever artsy population didn't recognize it until the late 1960s. Greenberg makes clear the financial and artistic struggles faced by Ohr, but she also makes clear he was generally happy with himself, his wo ...more
Syndi Flores
Dec 06, 2014 Syndi Flores rated it really liked it
Compared to other books, this has a bit more text and more information to gather. This story has chapters that helps to break down the story about George E. Ohr. As well as the text tells the reader the facts, the images in the story also help to tell what is going on. Also, the images in this story are real pictures, not drawn. Most of the pictures are about some of his work and some are about places each helps the story move along. This book is longer and might be more appropriate for older ch ...more
Akaul002odu.edu
Genre and age: Information, Non-fiction; grades 5+

Summary: This informational book tells the story of George Ohr, who found his niche in pottery making, and was ahead of his time in his artistic style.

Curriculum: I think this book would be a great resource in an art class to get some inspiration if students have the opportunity to work with clay.

Reaction: I enjoyed reading about the wild, confident, daring, and enthusiastic George; his story is inspirational for anyone trying to find his or her
...more
Edward Sullivan
Dec 16, 2013 Edward Sullivan rated it it was amazing
A fascinating, completely engaging introduction to a delightfully eccentric, innovative artist.
Jenny
Received a Sibert Honor this year (award given for informational children's books). I had never heard of George Ohr before, but he definitely had talent. He was a talented potter, but really wasn't discovered or honored until after his death (that seems to be common for many artists). I enjoyed the photographs of him, his family, and his pottery as well as the information about his life. (I do think his names for his children were a bit too odd...making each of their names so that their initials ...more
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