Children’s Book Briefs
Books, Posters, Videos, and Websites
Squiggles: A Really Big Drawing and
Painting Book. Taro Gomi. San Fran-
cisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 2007.
Illus., softcover, 204 pp., $19.99.
This is a great book for young children
to engage their imaginations to elaborate, fill in, draw, paint, and embellish
whatever inspires them. The graphic
quality of the starter lines Taro Gomi
uses to invite viewers to draw or paint
reflect a sense of Japanese writing.
The art starters are calligraphic and
spare, but they get the viewer interested in making art at any age. The
award-winning Squiggles and Doodles
books would be great for classroom
teachers, elementary art teachers,
and substitute teachers to use in their
classrooms. This book is just fun!
Willow. Denise Brennan-Nelson and
Rosemarie Brennan. Ann Harbor,
MI: Sleeping Bear Press, 2008. Illus.,
hardcover, 30 pp., $16.95.
Willow is the story of a charming and
artistic little girl who enters Miss
Hawthorn’s artroom to bring life,
art, imagination, and creativity to an
unnaturally neat and quiet classroom.
Willow colors outside the lines, breaks
crayons, and paints fanciful trees
that are not necessarily green with
red apples like Miss Hawthorn pre-
fers. The conflict is inevitable, funny,
and heart-warming when the teacher
learns from her talented student.
Everyone in the book is captivated by
the vibrant Willow and their creativ-
ity and individuality blossoms.
Sharon Warwick is an art teacher at
Winfree Academy in Denton, Texas.
Frida Kahlo: Face to Face. Judy Chi-
cago. New York, NY: Prestel Publish-
ing, 2010. Illus., hardcover, 272 pp.,
Artist Judy Chicago says that “
biographical explanations alone cannot
really account for all flights of imagination that artists take.” She asserts
that Frida Kahlo’s works are demeaned
by viewing them in relation to Diego
Rivera, turning them into reactive
rather that the active creations that
they really are. Chicago writes with
art historian Frances Borzello to
reconsider ninety of Kahlo’s works.
Together they provide insight into the
number and variety of themes Kahlo
revealed in her paintings. This pivotal
work is fascinating in its effort to
ensure that Kahlo’s artistic achievements become part of our cultural
heritage, revealing the uniqueness of
her artistic voice and experience.
Reviewed by Sharon Warwick, art teacher
at Winfree Academy in Denton, Texas.
Stan Lee’s How to Draw Comics.
Stan Lee. New York, NY: Watson-
Guptill, 2010. Illus., softcover, 224
This thorough text on developing
your own comic or graphic novel is
intended mainly for students who
already have knowledge of comic-book
art and have advanced art skills. Stan
Lee, comic-book artist and author,
gives advice on using different tools
and media, developing anatomy, drawing perspective, developing characters
and costumes, designing backgrounds,
making a concept cover, and working
in the industry. Lee describes how to
sequence action and use perspective to
enhance the action and bring flow to
the illustrations. Lots of illustrations,
examples, and details are included to
provide advanced knowledge to the
aspiring comic-book artist. Lee also
gives advice on placing text into balloons and using logos to enhance the
look of the comics. This book is recommended for advanced high-school
students and college students.
Reviewed by Cindy Hasio, Ph.D., student
and teaching fellow from the University of
North Texas, in Denton, Texas.