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The Amazing Collection of Joey Cornell: Based on the Childhood of a Great American Artist

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  179 ratings  ·  50 reviews
Award-winning and bestselling author Candace Fleming delivers a stunning picture-book based on the childhood of artist and sculptor Joseph Cornell, sure to beguile aspiring artists and collectors of all ages.

Joey Cornell collected everything -- anything that sparked his imagination or delighted his eye. His collection grew and grew until he realized that certain pieces j
Hardcover, 36 pages
Published February 27th 2018 by Schwartz & Wade Books (first published 2018)
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3.84  · 
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 ·  179 ratings  ·  50 reviews

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Apr 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books

”The question is not what you look at, but what you see.”

I have to admit…I had never heard of Joseph Cornell before picking up The Amazing Collection of Joey Cornell by Candace Fleming. But wow! I am so happy I met him and his “Relic Museum” in the pages of this book.

Young Joey Cornell collected things. He would pick things up that caught his eye and wonder. Everything and anything from sheet music to parrot feathers to old telescopes. Joey collected them all. What will he do with all of his st
Gary Anderson
Mar 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Joey whimsically collects unrelated objects that strike his fancy. Eventually, he realizes that he can make art by juxtaposing those items in surprising ways. Although Joey’s creative mind comes through in this picture book biography, readers may have a hard time understanding and empathizing with him. While the illustrations focus on the materials of Joey’s collection, the facial expressions are repetitive and inauthentic. Readers also need help knowing how to look at and appreciate the origina ...more
Edward Sullivan
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art, picture-books
The story of how Cornell started in childhood collecting everything that caught his imagination and later created sculptures from the everyday objects in his amassed collection.
A picture book biography, illustrated by Gerard Dubois, about the childhood of Joseph Cornell, who grew up to become a well-known assemblage artist. His penchant for collecting and juxtaposing unusual objects began when he was young. Children with seemingly directionless but compelling passions and collections will identify. Who knows where our curiosity will lead us? Includes an author's note and selected bibliography. I only wish the samples of his adult artwork had been reproduced larger!
Amber Webb
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
WOW! Everything about this book enthralled and entranced me. The illustrations were gorgeous, the story line thrilling and the words profound and emotion invoking. As I was reading, all I wanted to do was know more about Joey Cornell and his work. I want to learn more about him and introduce him and his art to my students and see how inspired they become.
Joey was a child who loved to collect things, things that made him happy. His collection grew and grew as the years stretched on. How many of
Christina Carter
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-excursion
Note: Advance Reader's Edition | Book Releases February 2018

This book is based on the childhood of Joseph Cornell and the wonder that is his collection of things. Candace Fleming provides a note at the start of the book that offers a brief bio with nuggets of details about some of the artist's objects, including photos that date back as far as 1945. Here we learn that Joseph referred to his own collection as, "a diary journal, picture gallery, museum, and clearing house for dreams and visions."

Sunday Cummins
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The kind of book you can read aloud to students more than once. There are a series of questions family members ask Joey as he collects more and more items - "What do you want that for?" and "What will you do with them?" and "What will you do with that?" with words like "that" in Italics for special emphasis. And there's also a series of repeating statements--"By the time Joey was eight (or nine or eleven) his collection looked like this..." Both the questions and the repetitive line would be hel ...more
Apr 12, 2018 rated it liked it
A large part of my rating this 3 stars, rather than 2, is that I just like that there is now a children's picture book referencing artist Joseph Cornell.

Also, it really bothers me that people keep referring to Joseph Cornell as "Joey" outside of the book. As far as I know, he really was NEVER called "Joey" - "Joe" or "Joseph" - and it really minimizes him as a serious artist, in my opinion. As a character in a children's picture book, he is "Joey". But outside of that, No. I wish the author had
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the same could be said for what is considered to be art or something worth collecting. In this stunningly illustrated book with images created in acrylic on paper and digitally, readers encounter artist Joseph Cornell when he was a youngster and collected objects that fascinated him. The illustrations show how the collection of found objects grew over time. Although he kept his collection in his bedroom at first, eventually it outgrew that space and was ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
The Amazing Collection of Joey Cornell by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Gerard Dubois. NON-FICTION/PICTURE BOOK Schwartz and Wade (Penguin), 2018. $18. 9780399552380



Joey always collects things. If they interest him at all he likes to put them in his barn and over time his collection grows. When Joey is thirteen his father passes away and Joey is overwhelmed by his own sadness and his family’s sadness. In an attempt to brighten everyone
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
When Joey Cornell was a child, he collected all sorts of things that interested him. Both of his parents helped find small treasures for his collection. Year after year, his collection grew and grew as he added to it. There were bright colored feathers, butterfly wings, doll heads, leaves, a safe, and much more. After the death of his father, when he was thirteen, Joey began to spend even more time with his collection and began to put the objects together into new combinations. He showed his fam ...more
Stephanie Tournas
This picture book biography shows how a childhood need to collect objects led to the artistic development of the artist Joseph Cornell. I like how the book honors Cornell's eccentricity, as his parents did. These amassed "curiosities" became the basis for the shadow boxes for which he eventually became famous. His earliest show, in the barn at his home, was as a child who wanted to provide solace to his family after the death of his father. The acrylic and digital art has a folksy feel, in keepi ...more
Becky B
Joey Cornell collected things. Things magnificent and things ordinary and things overlooked. His collection grew and grew until he decided to make it into an art exhibit to cheer up his mourning family, and launched an unordinary art career.

I like that Joey Cornell never forgot that children can appreciate art in their own unique way (see the afterward about his special exhibits just for kids). I also like that he shows budding artists that you can be successful by being different and not going
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's the story of one young man's journey from general curiosity collector to artist. Everyone wondered why Joey would save the things he did. Broken dolls, corks, feathers, glasses, and an assortment of other things that one might consider rubbish...but to him, they were something more. To him, they held potential and interesting connections that even he didn't realize at first glance, but he eventually put two and two together creating something unique. His world didn't appeal to the everyone, ...more
Christine Irvin
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Joseph Cornell became known for his ability to turn ordinary objects into wonderful creations. Author Candace Fleming tells Cornell's story by showing the reader how he started collecting things when he was a young boy. His motto was, "If I like it, I keep it."

He liked many, many different things, and they kept piling up. When they would no longer fit into his room, he was given space in the barn for his collections. After the collection grew and grew and grew, he started putting some of the th
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Joseph Cornell said, “The question is not what you look at, but what you see.”

This narrative biography about the childhood of artist Joseph Cornell is especially applicable as a children’s book since his work would later in life would also be meant for children.

The illustrations weren’t my favorite style, but did seem to fit the early 1900’s style, almost like Dick and Jane books -that’s what it reminded me of. The illustrator put the array of collected and scattered objects against a backgroun
Dec 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Joey is fascinated by everyday objects. Though his family doesn't really get it, his mom and dad encourage him by finding him treasures everywhere. Then when family tragedy strikes, Joey is inspired to create new things by combining his treasures in different ways, though he's sure they were always made to be together.

An interesting story of an artist with no formal training, who continues to affect his community to this day. Not my... favorite style of illustration. It works with the story and

May 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Mixed feelings about this. I liked the text with one quibble and that was thinking an inclusion of Joey's eventual artistic career would have been good. On the other hand, the idea of collecting things that "sparked his imagination or delighted his eye" delighted ME. So many kids do some of just that and I think we adults often ask them what they collect as if it is important to narrow to just one thing.

So so on the illustrations. Some of the pages invited close inspection yet some were dark and
Jun 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
In our world where minimalism is the newest fad and with both parents working keeping the house clean is a major priority, it is great to see a book that promotes the advantages of collecting! Kids need to have the space to find out who they are and what they like, and luckily Joey Cornell was given that luxury and a great artist was born! This book is a great artist biography which should inspire many kids. Hopefully their parents will also see the light and give them the space to explore.
May 06, 2018 rated it liked it
A non-fiction read about a boy in Flushing, New York who collects many things in his wanderings. And these things he creates art with. The illustrations were colorful, muted, and showed the many things Joey collected. This would be a book a child might spend a longer time with looking at all the different things the boy collected. Joey did put the items together in an artistic way that interested people looking at his collections and that became his art.
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Based on the childhood of Joey Cornell, real life artist. I was one of those kids who kept things that were interesting, even if they were junk. My collection had to stay small though. Every once in a while I come across a tiny artifact from my collection and it still makes my heart happy. The best part of this book is the way the illustrator used light and darkness in the night spreads. Stunning!!!
Read  Ribbet
Feb 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book has two of my favorite elements: the genre of picture book biographies and the autor Candace Fleming. Fleming chooses fairly unknown to many artist Joey Cornell whose unique media is the arrangement of real life objects in small wooden boxes. Fleming captures the childhood of Cornell including his obsession with collecting unusual and interesting objects -- a habit supported and encouraged by his family. End notes tell a more complete story of Cornell and his art.
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
First of all, every collector and the parent(s) of every collector will or can relate. There are some great reviews on this so I won't go overboard. Simply put, I loved this story. I loved the history and learning about Joey Cornell. I loved the shift every single character made in the most subtle ways. A shift from unseeing - to seeing. What a wonderful story -- one I want to add to my own library.
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Who knows where your curiosity will take you? A look at the early life of Joey Cornell, an assemblage artist whom I had never heard of. Collectors of found objects and dreamers of possibilities will appreciate Joey's art and imagination. Back matter contains author's note and small photos of Cornell's work.
A Allen
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
I am not familiar with Joey Cornell's work, but I was interested in a children's book about an artist's childhood. I liked that Cornell's parents supported his collection even though it was odd. Interestingly, I ultimately found myself identifying more closely with Cornell's sisters who called him a pack rat though.
mary dewley
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
"I never had an art lesson." Joseph said. "I can't draw, paint, [or} sculpt."I was not familiar with the works of Joey Cornell before reading this fabulous book! What an imaginative child and influential artist he was to become. He was even inspired after seeing one of Harry Houdini's shows. Great biography for younger children.
Viviane Elbee
I hadn’t ever heard of Joey Cornell before, but was delighted to discover this artist and learn about his inspirations.

The kids enjoyed the story too. This is a longer book, text-wise, so I would recommend it for elementary students. Older preschoolers who can sit through longer stories may enjoy it too.

Good for kids who love to collect random objects and for art fans.
The story of a boy who collected all sorts of weird and interesting things---whatever caught his eye. He later combined his objects into art. So many kids are collectors that I think they will connect with the wonder young Joey experiences. Would be a fun book-makerspace connection. The author's note shares images of Cornell and his boxes.
Oct 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, kids
The book was better than my ability to like it. I think my need to minimize and get rid of junk tainted my opinion slightly. I did look up images in Google of his real artwork and wished the book covered more of those. It reminded me of a shadow box or scrapbook arrangement. I liked the book a little better after viewing them.
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.25 Stars I really liked this book. The hoarding would drive me a little crazy, but the fact that this kid collects do dads, and makes them into art! Very cool!
Well illustrated and written! I liked this a lot! This might make my short list!
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I have always been a storyteller. Even before I could write my name, I could tell a good tale. And I told them all the time. As a preschooler, I told my neighbors all about my three-legged cat named Spot. In kindergarten, I told my classmates about the ghost that lived in my attic. And in first grade I told my teacher, Miss Harbart, all about my family's trip to Paris, France.

I told such a good st