Still, Rubin’s portrait of this creative clan merits at least a look by students of both book illustration and American fine...

EVERYONE PAINTS!

THE LIVES AND ART OF THE WYETH FAMILY

A perceptive, if undersized and overdesigned, introduction to a dynasty of American painters.

Playing to her well-established strengths, Rubin (Delicious! The Life & Art of Wayne Thiebaud, 2007, etc.) does a fine job of setting selected works of N.C. Wyeth, his son Andrew and his grandson Jamie into biographical context and explicating emotional substrates in their art. This is particularly important with Andrew, whose pictures are often oblique expressions of private feelings or incidents. The analysis is, however, embedded in references to other family members (several of whom were also artists, though none of their work is illustrated or discussed here), along with moves to various residences, gallery shows, awards, honors and other details that will be less than compelling to young readers. Moreover, the type and background color scheme does nothing but call attention to itself by changing with every page turn (the purple type on gray background is a particularly unfortunate choice). Though nearly every spread offers a sharply reproduced image of a painting or drawing (or an occasional photo), the volume’s modest trim size cramps the often large originals.

Still, Rubin’s portrait of this creative clan merits at least a look by students of both book illustration and American fine art in general. (index, bibliography) (Biography. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8118-6984-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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Macy wheels out another significant and seldom explored chapter in women’s history.

MOTOR GIRLS

HOW WOMEN TOOK THE WHEEL AND DROVE BOLDLY INTO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Well-documented proof that, when it came to early automobiles, it wasn’t just men who took the wheel.

Despite relentlessly flashy page design that is more distracting than otherwise and a faint typeface sure to induce eyestrain, this companion to Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (2011) chronicles decided shifts in gender attitudes and expectations as it puts women (American women, mostly) behind the wheel in the first decades of the 20th century. Sidebar profiles and features, photos, advertisements, and clippings from contemporary magazines and newspapers festoon a revved-up narrative that is often set in angular blocks for added drama. Along with paying particular attention to women who went on the road to campaign for the vote and drove ambulances and other motor vehicles during World War I, Macy recounts notable speed and endurance races, and she introduces skilled drivers/mechanics such as Alice Ramsey and Joan Newton Cuneo. She also diversifies the predominantly white cast with nods to Madam C.J. Walker, her daughter, A’Lelia (both avid motorists), and the wartime Colored Women’s Motor Corps. An intro by Danica Patrick, checklists of “motoring milestones,” and an extended account of an 1895 race run and won by men do more for the page count than the overall story—but it’s nonetheless a story worth the telling.

Macy wheels out another significant and seldom explored chapter in women’s history. (index, statistics, source notes, annotated reading list) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2697-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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Pure gold for readers in search of role models who buck conventional masculine expectations.

GROUNDBREAKING GUYS

40 MEN WHO BECAME GREAT BY DOING GOOD

Single-page profiles of men who were guided by their better angels.

“History books are full of men who have made their mark,” Peters writes. “But these great men were not always good men.” So this atypical gallery focuses on men who served communities, demonstrated real respect for others, or otherwise acted on worthy principles. With one exception, men presented were born in or at least lived into the 20th century. That exception, John Stuart Mill, leads off for his then-radical notions about human (including women’s) rights and the “tyranny of the majority.” The ensuing multiracial, multinational roster mixes the predictable likes of Cesar Chavez, Thích Nhất Hạnh, and Roberto Clemente with Chinese diplomat Feng-Shan Ho (who helped “hundreds, and possibly thousands” of Jews escape Nazi-occupied Vienna), Indian child-labor activist Kailash Satyarthi, Malala Yousafzai’s dad and champion, Ziauddin, transgender activist Kylar W. Broadus, and socially conscious creative artists including Lin-Manuel Miranda and Kendrick Lamar. Though intent on highlighting good works, the author doesn’t shy away from personal details—she identifies six entrants as gay and one, Freddie Mercury, as bisexual—or darker ones, such as Harvey Milk’s assassination and Anthony Bourdain’s suicide. Washington works with a severely limited menu of facial expressions, but each subject in his full-page accompanying portraits radiates confidence and dignity.

Pure gold for readers in search of role models who buck conventional masculine expectations. (source notes) (Collective biography. 11-14)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-52941-9

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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