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*A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin* by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Also by Jen Bryant:

Kaleidoscope Eyes

Pieces of Georgia

Also illustrated and/or written by Melissa Sweet:

Little Red Writing

Hanukkah Lights

Carmine: A Little More Red

Christmas Tree

The Sleepy Little Alphabet: A Bedtime Story from Alphabet Town

Won't You Be My Kissaroo?

Won't You Be My Hugaroo?

Charlotte in Paris
A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin
by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Ages 5-8 40 pages Knopf January 2013 Hardcover    

As a child, Horace Pippin loved to draw. He enjoyed the feel of charcoal in his hands and liked to draw pictures of the images in his mind. After winning an art contest, he got his first box of real art supplies.

Despite his talent, it seemed that his future would not include art. Forced to quit school in eighth grade in order to help his family survive, Horace worked in stores, rail yards, hotels and factories. However, he never forgot his love of art and painted whenever and wherever he could.

When the United States entered World War I, Horace joined the army and fought in France. Despite the constant danger, he filled his notebooks with pictures of his experiences until he was severely wounded in his right arm and could no longer draw. Returning home after the war, Horace got married and settled down in West Chester. His damaged right arm made it difficult for him to find work, but his love of art never changed:
“As he walked along the streets of West Chester, his fingers itched to draw all the colors and textures he saw.”
He decided to use his left hand to support his injured right hand in order to draw. Eventually, his arm became stronger, and he once again started to paint.

However, his paintings did not sell until they were brought to the attention of the painter N. C. Wyeth. Soon Horace became famous.
“People came from all around to see Horace’s painting. Magazines wrote articles. Reporters took photos… Collectors admired them. Movie stars bought them.”
Jen Bryant’s wonderful words combined with Melissa Sweet’s amazing pictures give readers a unique insight into the life of Horace Pippin, a self-taught artist who overcame many obstacles to become a famous American painter.

Sweet’s illustrations evoke Pippin’s unique artistic style. He drew his inspiration from the events of his life. Each page in this picture book mimics a Pippin painting with vibrant colors, unique composition, and interesting formats including watercolor, gouache and collage. Pippin’s actual words are interspersed with the text providing both a richness of understanding of the painter as well as a beautiful graphic element for readers.

This picture book has many text features which will deepen a readers’ understanding of Horace Pippin’s life and his importance as an American painter. Actual Pippin paintings, as well as a map of places where Pippin’s art can be viewed today, are found on the end pages. At the end of the book a wealth of information is provided, including a historical note, author’s and illustrator’s notes, and a list of books, films and websites for further research about the painter.

Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet have previously collaborated on the picture book A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams (2009) which was a Caldecott Honor Book and New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book. Readers will be thrilled with their new collaboration in A Splash of Red , which brings the thoughtful and talented painter Horace Pippin to life. Pippin’s own words best describe his artistic genius:
“Pictures just come to my mind…and I tell my heart to go ahead.”


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  Myra Junyk/2013 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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