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Mr. Cornell's Dream Boxes
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Mr. Cornell's Dream Boxes

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  180 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Children young and old will delight in the artistic splendor of this illustrated nonfiction tale from the author of Henri's Scissors, which Booklist called an "exemplary picture-book biography."

Joseph Cornell loved to draw and paint and collect things. With these drawings and paintings and collected treasures, he made marvelous shadowboxes--wonderlands covered in glass. An
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published August 19th 2014 by Beach Lane Books (first published May 1st 2014)
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3.54  · 
Rating details
 ·  180 ratings  ·  44 reviews

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Jan 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: art, picture
Fine, but I suspect useless -- Cornell's work is fairly accessible to children, and probably in its real detail more interesting to them than these simplified drawings. I don't see this book as particularly helpful as an introduction to Cornell's boxes, if one were needed, which I don't think it is. The illustrations aren't very reminiscent of Cornell's art, so the book isn't even useful for gauging whether your kid will like Cornell. Just show them some photos of the actual art pieces.

I was ind
Sep 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
It's wonderful to see one of my favorite artist getting the attention he deserves and to be able to introduce my children to his work.
Heidi Burkhart
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love books that inspire children to be creative by using found or collected things. Wonderful, true story.
Aug 02, 2018 rated it liked it
With only two books about Joseph Cornell geared towards children - this one and "The Amazing Collection of Joey Cornell" - this one certainly seems aimed at a younger audience. But the story itself isn't especially engaging, and as many have said, quite boring. His life, and interest in arts and bits of things, love of sweets, love of film, massive collections, are so much more interesting than this! I wasn't in love with the newest book, either, but it is far more engaging and probably more int ...more
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: art, children-picture
While I appreciate Jeanette Winter's introduction to Joseph Cornell and his "dream boxes", this book was written and illustrated at such a introductory level that it would quickly bore many children and their parents. The failure to show Cornell's actual artwork leaves the reader hopelessly uneducated about the artist. It would have been so easy to layer this book such that readers of all levels would have found something of interest.
I've always loved Cornell's boxes. There is something so idiosyncratic about them, lonely but touching. This is a nice introduction that children can easily understand.
Aug 06, 2018 rated it liked it
There is a nice little history presented in this book. The framing device works quite well. It's just the artwork was not to my taste.
A brilliant little picture book about a fascinating outsider artist.
Maggie Ignasiak
Jeanette Winter fans like me probably aren't giving unbiased reviews... but this is great!
Sarah Gross
Title: Mr. Cornell’s Dream Boxes
Author: Jeanette Winter
Illustrator (if separate from author):
Genre: Biography (K-2)
Theme(s): biography, life
Opening line/sentence: “If you had lived on Utopia Parkway not so long ago,…”
Brief Book Summary: This book talks about the interests of Joseph Cornell, who built small, dream boxes of things he remembered. The book talks directly to the reader, and it explained what Mr. Cornell might do when he’s not making his dream boxes and that he really likes sweets.
Natalie Haldeman
Title: Mr. Cornell's Dream Boxes
Author: Jeanette Winter
Genre: Biography
Theme(s): Artists, Imagination, Biography
Opening line/sentence: If you had lived on Utopia Parkway not so long ago, you might have walked past this house.
Brief Book Summary: This book explores the self taught artist Joseph Cornell. In the book it shows some of his work, which was mainly wooden boxes that showed 3D images in them. Children had an interest in his boxes so Jeanette Winter tried to portray that through making th
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I just want to create a program around this book. It's great!
Oct 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Written as a tribute to the real Mr. Cornell, Jeanette Winter takes her readers on a trip of discovery to meet a man that left a lifelong impression on her.

When Joseph Cornell was not crisscrossing New York City selling textiles, he was caring for his mother and brother; but in his free time, Mr. Cornell could be found in his basement, making memory boxes from random items that he found as he traveled throughout the city. Items that reminded him of adventures during his life.

Mr. Cornell was a
Joseph Cornell, who never studied art, spent his free time creating shadow boxes representing the memories and dreams that mattered most to him. This picture book, a tribute to the talented Queens, New York, resident, gives a brief overview of his daily life and his art. I liked the fact that the picture book pushes readers to consider art in different ways and that it highlights someone probably regarded eccentric by most counts. There is something endearing about an adult munching on brownies ...more
Stephanie Herman
"Mr. Cornell made shadow boxes...WONDERLANDS covered in glass." -Jeanette Winter

When I found this book at the library, I immediately checked it out. Joseph Cornell is one of my favorite artists to study! In the past, I've created a few of my own shadow boxes with him as my inspiration. Jeanette's portrayal of Cornell's life was very sweet. I especially liked how Cornell's whimsical dream boxes were uniquely recreated using her own imagination and creative style. In my opinion, this non-fiction
Jan 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: k-3rd grade
I saw Cornell's boxes at the Art Institute in Chicago several years ago. I had never heard of him and I was fascinated. I can see children being captivated as well. This is a good introduction with not too much detail, but enough to give a sense of his dreaming, his desire to capture his dreams and memories, his creativity with found objects. The comments about his love of sweets and photos at the end showing children looking at Cornell's boxes and eating brownies add to the accessibility of Cor ...more
Jun 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art, kidstuff, biography
Winter presents a fascinating look at Joseph Cornell, a Queens, New York resident, who created art using found objects.

Here's a look at a few of his boxes:




Dozens more can be seen on google images - Joseph Cornell boxes
Dec 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
Very simple picture book about a unique artist, Joseph Cornell (1903-1972), who made shadow boxes filled with objects he found while selling textiles door to door. He became a successful artist and stopped his sales job. His last exhibit was just for kids! The storyline of the book is a girl walking by his house who sees a light in the cellar--it's Mr. Cornell at work, putting his dreams and memories into his art. He also took care of his brother (who had cerebral palsy) and his mother. Beautifu ...more
A picture book bio about a man who made beautiful shadow box artwork and immensely enjoyed sharing his gifts with children.

I like the simple way in which readers are presented with the way in which Mr. Cornell created his imaginary worlds and readers are asked to decide whether he was an artist, a toy maker, a magician, all three?

Back matter includes an author's note with pictures of Joseph Cornell and his last exhibition.

Great read aloud for PreK-2 and one that begs for an extension activity in
This would be great to share with students who may be creating their own shadow boxes, as well as those who like to collect seemingly random objects. It provides inspiration to create as well as keep a journal. The introduction to Joseph Cornell seems secondary.
White background gives emphasis to each of Mr. Cornell's dreams and bold, bright yet simple illustration of each event described. Large black text is easy to read.
Jul 22, 2016 rated it liked it
The book is about an artist who made shadow boxes. Written in a very simple style, it still uses sentence patterns that might provide good patterns for students writing about a person or a nonfiction topic: he remembered. . . . if the light in the ___ was (off/on), you might have seen. . . .
A sweet and simple introduction to the assemblage artist Joseph Cornell and his "dream boxes." My favorite part is the show for children. "In 1972, the last exhibition Cornell attended before his death was held especially for children...The boxes were hung three feet from the ground--child height."
Aug 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Jeanette Winter delivers another fascinating biography. I really enjoyed the way she approached the storytelling aspect of it- as looking in more closely to the everyday life of Joseph Cornell the same way one would his creations!
Another great book from Jeannette Winter, this one covering the life of a relatively obscure artist who created shadow boxes. I liked it a lot and it's simple enough that I could share it with any audience and they couldd probably enjoy it. Well done.
Oct 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: art-artists
We enjoyed this, though I did feel that it could have been a bit more detailed/informative. Also I wish it had more actual photos of some of his works. But it was nicely done and inspired us to do more internet research - so it served its purpose!
Joseph Cornell was a NY man who collected interesting objects and created shadow boxes with them. This is a dreamy, simple, picture book introducing us to his work and luring us to dream and create on our own. Would be a perfect art class tie-in.
I enjoyed the fact that this book represents a different kind of artistry and creativity. This type of art and collecting may appeal to many young readers. The Author's note pulls in some important information. I would love to know more.
Barb Middleton
Oct 29, 2014 rated it liked it
I would have liked seeing the real photos of his dream boxes. The students had a hard time visualizing them from the illustrations. I read it to grade 4 students.
Edward Sullivan
Lovely tribute to a shadow box artist who lived in Queens, New York.
Whitney Rachel
Aug 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
I feel like the only redeeming qualities of this book are its illustrations and the author's note at the end which provides information about Mr.Cornell, who is in fact not a fictitious character.
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