Playfully reminiscing about a surprise visit to his famous relative in the early 1960s, Warhola (The Bear Came Over to My House, not reviewed, etc.) not only gives readers a decidedly tongue-in-cheek glimpse of the Pop Art icon at work, but illuminates the beginning of his own artistic career too. After paying tribute to his father, a scrap-metal sorter who delighted in bringing home interesting junk, Warhola recalls piling into the station wagon with his six siblings for the long ride to New York, then bursting into the townhouse shared by Andy Warhol (né Warhola), his mother, 25 cats named “Sam,” and an enthralling clutter of cookie jars, carousel figures, painted soup cartons and portraits of celebrities. A skinny, inarticulate figure, topped by opaque shades and that trademark wig (except for one hilarious scene in which he’s surprised in bed), Warhol positively exudes remote urban chic, in amusing contrast to his countrified visitors. But though he seems totally absorbed in his own world, there are gifts for everyone in the family when it’s time to leave, including a box of art supplies for James, who is last seen putting them to good use back home. The author renders people and clutter in exact, loving detail, most notably in a showstopping, full-building cutaway of Warhol’s house. Having seen his uncle make “regular stuff like soup cans, pop bottles, and money look like real art!,” young Warhola concludes, “art is something that is all around us, all of the time.” A faabbbulous idea for young readers to consider, captivatingly presented. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-399-23869-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2003

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A pivotal moment in a child’s life, at once stirring and authentically personal.


Before growing up to become a major figure in the civil rights movement, a boy finds a role model.

Buffing up a childhood tale told by her renowned father, Young Shelton describes how young Andrew saw scary men marching in his New Orleans neighborhood (“It sounded like they were yelling ‘Hi, Hitler!’ ”). In response to his questions, his father took him to see a newsreel of Jesse Owens (“a runner who looked like me”) triumphing in the 1936 Olympics. “Racism is a sickness,” his father tells him. “We’ve got to help folks like that.” How? “Well, you can start by just being the best person you can be,” his father replies. “It’s what you do that counts.” In James’ hazy chalk pastels, Andrew joins racially diverse playmates (including a White child with an Irish accent proudly displaying the nickel he got from his aunt as a bribe to stop playing with “those Colored boys”) in tag and other games, playing catch with his dad, sitting in the midst of a cheering crowd in the local theater’s segregated balcony, and finally visualizing himself pelting down a track alongside his new hero—“head up, back straight, eyes focused,” as a thematically repeated line has it, on the finish line. An afterword by Young Shelton explains that she retold this story, told to her many times growing up, drawing from conversations with Young and from her own research; family photos are also included. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A pivotal moment in a child’s life, at once stirring and authentically personal. (illustrator’s note) (Autobiographical picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-545-55465-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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            The legions of fans who over the years have enjoyed dePaola’s autobiographical picture books will welcome this longer gathering of reminiscences.  Writing in an authentically childlike voice, he describes watching the new house his father was building go up despite a succession of disasters, from a brush fire to the hurricane of 1938.  Meanwhile, he also introduces family, friends, and neighbors, adds Nana Fall River to his already well-known Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, remembers his first day of school (“ ‘ When do we learn to read?’  I asked.  ‘Oh, we don’t learn how to read in kindergarten.  We learn to read next year, in first grade.’  ‘Fine,’ I said.  ‘I’ll be back next year.’  And I walked right out of school.”), recalls holidays, and explains his indignation when the plot of Disney’s “Snow White” doesn’t match the story he knows.  Generously illustrated with vignettes and larger scenes, this cheery, well-knit narrative proves that an old dog can learn new tricks, and learn them surpassingly well.  (Autobiography.  7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23246-X

Page Count: 58

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1999

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