Customer Reviews for

The Secret World of Walter Anderson

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2011

    Two Thumbs Up!

    I really enjoyed reading this book! It had amazing water color pictures on every page! Walter was an artist that had a love for nature too. He loved painting nature so much that he would travel by himself with an old worn out boat for 12 miles to Horn Island. No one lived on Horn Island so Walter would just have the company of all of his objects to paint. He loved watching all the animals and painting them. He would stay at Horn Island for weeks at a time just painting. Every time Walter would leave for Horn Island, he would lock a room in his cottage so no one could go in there while he was gone. He became very sick in 1961, but still painted while he was in the hospital. Walter soon passed and then his wife got to finally see what was in that locked room. Even though this book was an informational book, it was very interesting because of the story about Walter. I really enjoyed the book and I hope you do too! Mar3301

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2010

    Standing the Test of Time - Hope Lives On

    Together, author, Hester Bass, and illustrator, E.B. Lewis tells us the story of famous and genius artist, Walter Anderson. Strange and a bit insane, Anderson "needed to paint as much as he needed to breathe," sometimes leaving his family and home for long periods of time to live somewhat as a hermit on Horn Island. On Horn Island, he was able to escape the daily challenges and stresses of life and be at peace with his "friends" (the animals of the island) and his paintings.

    Probably the most fascinating fact, for me, was that Anderson never let even his wife or children enter his "secret little room." After his death, Mrs. Anderson opened it to find the walls and ceiling covered with murals of his Horn Island world.

    In the back of the book, the author gives a detailed biography of Walter Anderson's life. According to Bass, Anderson fell ill and his "mind was tortured," escaping from two hospitals. She also indicates that only Anderson's paintings and travels to Horn Island brought him peace of mind. This made me think of an "idiot savant", whom has such a brilliant mind, yet is completely out of touch and disconnected from reality and social situations. I don't believe Walter Anderson was an "idiot savant" but parts where Bass mentions how he did not let his family see his room dedicated to Horn Island and more importantly how he could barely function unless he was painting on Horn Island is not what I would consider acceptable behavior of a husband and father. He had a whole world, a life, that he did not include with his family. That bothered me. This issue actually hits close to home for me. But other than that, I really enjoyed this picture book. Illustrator, E.B. Lewis, crafted each page with paintings in honor of Anderson and his beloved paintings.

    Although Walter Anderson is apparently very famous, I had never heard of him. If I had, it didn't stick in my mind, so it was interesting to learn so much about a person and his cornucopia of work. I believe this book to be a wonderful read for children. This work could aid children in appreciating the arts. I also believe works on the lives of real people help students grasp a sense of reality - it's not just some story they are reading, but something that really happened in history!

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