Wednesday, May 1, 2019

WILD & WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY: Picturing America/Otis and Will Discover the Deep


ABOUT THE BOOK

This look at artist Thomas Cole's life takes readers from his humble beginnings to his development of a new painting style that became America's first formal art movement: the Hudson River school of painting.

Thomas Cole was always looking for something new to draw. Born in England during the Industrial Revolution, he was fascinated by tales of the American countryside, and was ecstatic to move there in 1818. The life of an artist was difficult at first, however Thomas kept his dream alive by drawing constantly and seeking out other artists. But everything changed for him when he was given a ticket for a boat trip up the Hudson River to see the wilderness of the Catskill Mountains. The haunting beauty of the landscape sparked his imagination and would inspire him for the rest of his life. The majestic paintings that followed struck a chord with the public and drew other artists to follow in his footsteps, in the first art movement born in America. His landscape paintings also started a conversation on how to protect the country's wild beauty. 


Hudson Talbott takes readers on a unique journey as he depicts the immigrant artist falling in love with--and fighting to preserve--his new country.


REVIEW

I'll admit I don't normally find books about artists and their art very appealing.  Probably because I'm not any kind of artist and can't relate to them very well.  But I saw some of the illustrations from this book and wanted to read/look at it.  That's probably because of the gorgeous landscapes.  I'm a nature lover and enjoy looking at beautiful depictions of the natural world.  So I picked up this book.  And I was not disappointed.  Thomas Cole's life is briefly described, as in most picture book biography's details are spare, but there is enough there to be interesting.  But my favorite parts involved Cole's trips that lead to his most famous landscape paintings.  The illustrations of some of Cole's most famous works are especially beautiful.  I truly enjoyed this book, especially the beautiful illustrations.  It would make a great teaching tool for an art class, but it can also be enjoyed solely on it's own merits as well.


ABOUT THE BOOK

The suspenseful, little-known true story of two determined pioneers who made the first dive into the deep ocean.
On June 6, 1930, engineer Otis Barton and explorer Will Beebe dove into the ocean inside a hollow metal ball of their own invention called the Bathysphere.

They knew dozens of things might go wrong. A tiny leak could shoot pressurized water straight through the men like bullets! A single spark could cause their oxygen tanks to explode! No one had ever dived lower than a few hundred feet...and come back. But Otis and Will were determined to become the first people to see what the deep ocean looks like.

This suspenseful story from acclaimed author Barb Rosenstock with mesmerizing watercolors by award-winning artist Katherine Roy will put you right in the middle of the spine-tingling, record-setting journey down, down into the deep.


REVIEW

Combining Rosenstock's great storytelling with Roy's fabulous artwork was a brilliant move on someone's part.  I've long enjoyed reading the picture book nonfiction that Rosenstock writes because it's always on an unusual interesting topic, told in an informative, easy to understand, yet accurate way.  And Roy has quickly become one of my favorite illustrators, her art is amazing.  Combining the work of the two makes for a fascinating told, beautifully illustrated book about an unusual subject.  I'd never heard of Otis Barton or Will Beebe before reading this book and yet both men played a significant role in helping move forward exploration of the natural world.  In this book, the focus is on the work the two men did together, creating one of the world's first submersible's which allowed them to take a dive into the deep ocean.  The additional information and photographs at the end were greatly appreciated by me in adding to what I learned reading the book.  A great book for both entertainment and educational purposes. 

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