Children’s Book Briefs
Books, Software, and Websites
Edward Hopper: Painter of Light and
Shadow. Susan Goldman Rubin.
New York: Abrams, 2007. Illus.,
hardcover, 48 pp., $18.95.
Susan Goldman Rubin integrates an
appealing anecdotal text with many
reproductions of artwork by Edward
Hopper, as well as a few by artists who
influenced his work. The story traces
Hopper’s evolution as an artist and the
development of his visual imagination. We see his growing interest in
such architectural features as mansard roofs, his focus on solitary figures, and the dominance of light and
shadows. We discover Hopper’s working methods and the long period of
time devoted to single works in both
watercolors and oils. Rubin provides
useful contextual information, and
the finely reproduced paintings offer
incentive for us to seek out the original works. Several pages of reference
information make this book valuable
for middle school and older readers.
Wanda Gág: The Girl Who Lived to
Draw. Deborah Kogan Ray. New
York, NY: Penguin, 2008. Illus.,
hardcover, 40 pp., $16.99.
We know Wanda Gág primarily
through Millions of Cats, a picture-book created in 1929 and a winner
of that year’s Newbery Award. Now
Deborah Kogan Ray offers us a chance
to understand the motivations and
complexities of Gág’s life through an
anecdotal and appealing text accompanied by full-page pastel drawings.
The book peeks into Gág’s diary,
which describes her need “to draw and
paint forever.” This energy, despite
family hardships, paid off gradually
with such tasks as making greeting
cards and newspaper illustrations.
The book follows Gág through her art
school education in New York City,
which eventually earned her a solo
exhibition and a contract for a book
based on an old German fairy tale.
Ray’s detailed pictures are naturalistic and carefully crafted to provide a
feeling for turn-of-the-nineteenth-cen-tury-interiors and street scenes. This
book is enough stimulus to get readers
of all ages to the library to investigate
and enjoy the inventiveness of Gág’s
—Ken Marantz is professor emeritus of art
education at Ohio State University.
Color Is Everything. Dan Bartges.
Richmond, VA: The Oaklea Press,
2008. Illus., softcover, 96 pp., $14.99.
This colorful book uses various paintings and photographs to impart practical knowledge of color to the reader.
Descriptions include how to manage
color and how to observe color harmony in any oil, acrylic, or watercolor
painting. Author-artist Dan Bartges
uses examples of his own work to
describe how he improved his paintings by changing the colors.
The book includes a list of materials, color basics, and color schemes.
The author then uses a question-and-answer format for examples of
paintings and gives his insights and
observations. Reading the answer
pages will allow the reader to critique
the work and observe color in detail.
Bartges’s studio tips help readers learn
how to study color, and he includes a
glossary of color terms. Readers will
enjoy being motivated to learn more
about colors and how to apply them to
Research in Art & Design Education: Issues and Exemplars. Edited
by Richard Hickman. Chicago, IL:
Intellect Books, 2008. Hardcover,
206 pp., $50.00.
The chapters in this book discuss
and describe a broad range of topics in art education that explore the
pedagogical components and analysis
of different approaches to research
in art education. Each chapter critically examines how art and design is
taught in schools. Chapters include
ethnographic research, politics of
art education reform, practice-based
research, early development of artistic
creativity, pluralistic approaches to
art education, narratives, and cross-cultural studies. This book is helpful
for teachers interested in improving
and advocating art instruction, as it
summarizes the role of creativity in
enhancing learning processes. Any
art student, teacher, or researcher can
appreciate this book for its efforts to
promote and facilitate critical thinking.
—Cindy Hasio is a Ph.D. student and
teaching fellow from the University of
North Texas, Denton, Texas.