Darice Bailer
Michelangelo
illus by JT Morrow
Child's World, 2014
Grades 2-5
Look inside Michelangelo
ISBN 978-1626873520
Pablo Picasso
illus. by JT Morrow
Child's World, 2014
Grades 2-5
Look inside Pablo Picasso
ISBN 978-1626873537
Rembrandt
illus. by JT Morrow
Child's World, 2014
Grades 2-5
Look inside Rembrandt
ISBN 978-1626873544
The World's Greatest Artists Series

Behind the Books

I have to admit I was a little nervous writing about famous artists for The Child’s World. A cousin of mine, who’s a school librarian, said, “Kids don’t read books about artists.” So I was determined to make the stories exciting and fun to read, and adding cartoons helped. (Great idea from the book packager, Red Line Editorial!)

My husband even gave me the idea for the cartoon for the front cover:

I wrote three books about famous artists for the series, which went on to be a Junior Library Guild Selection.

I’m especially proud of these two paragraphs which tell how Michelangelo carved the Pieta, a beautiful statue of Mary cradling Jesus:

     
 

Dust flew as Michelangelo hammered away with his chisel. He didn’t wash for days. He ate very little. He wanted only to carve something beautiful.

Michelangelo carved folds in Mary’s dress. Her dress began to look real. He also carved sadness into Mary’s eyes. And he showed a mother’s love. In the middle of the Renaissance, Michelangelo did something new. He carved a mother’s feelings into stone. When Michelangelo was done, it was one of the most beautiful sculptures in the world.

 
     

Awards

Junior Library Guild Selection
Series Nonfiction Level: Social Studies Grades 3-5

Reviews

School Library Journal, 2014:

This series offers an ideal blend of excellent writing and strong historical and technical information about the materials and methods of art. It is unfortunate that there is only one woman artist featured here (Mary Cassatt), but the selection is rich in other ways. Each page includes attractive reproductions of masterpieces sprinkled with snarky cartoon commentary (‘Maybe he should use more colors!’ says a child on the cover of Rembrandt, studying a muddy self-portrait of the artist). The authors have skillfully interjected a tone of humor into the solid, useful information: The cartoons capture the authentic voice of young viewers, who might not immediately appreciate fine art, while the narrative voice is earnest and scholarly, pushing children toward deeper analysis. The authors excel at using concrete sensory detail to lead kids through images. If paired with a series that includes more women and artists of color, these will be valued staples.

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