Audubon: Painter of Birds in the Wild Frontier

Overview

In the tradition of the highly successful Abrams title The Yellow House: Van Gogh and Gauguin Side by Side, this fascinating picture-book biography tells the story of 19th-century artist and explorer John James Audubon. Most people know that he painted The Birds of America, but many don't know what an exciting life he led: narrowly escaping an earthquake, meeting with native peoples, and witnessing flocks of passenger pigeons that literally darkened the noon-day sky. Armed with paintbrushes and canvas, Audubon ...
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Overview

In the tradition of the highly successful Abrams title The Yellow House: Van Gogh and Gauguin Side by Side, this fascinating picture-book biography tells the story of 19th-century artist and explorer John James Audubon. Most people know that he painted The Birds of America, but many don't know what an exciting life he led: narrowly escaping an earthquake, meeting with native peoples, and witnessing flocks of passenger pigeons that literally darkened the noon-day sky. Armed with paintbrushes and canvas, Audubon searched the wild for birds and animals. And he captured many of them...on paper.

Author Jennifer Armstrong used material gleaned from Audubon's own journals to tell the artist's story. Along with the illustrations of Jos. A. Smith are five of Audubon's own artworks that reveal the amazing results of the artist's dedication.


About the Author:
Jennifer Armstrong has written more than two dozen books for young people, including several ALA Notable Books and ALA Best Books for Young Adults, as well as a Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor Book. She lives in New York. Jos. A. Smith has illustrated many books, including Abrams' Circus Train and The Yellow House. A Professor of Fine Arts at Pratt Institute, he has exhibited his work throughout the country. He lives in Pennsylvania.

Briefly tells the story of this nineteenth-century painter and naturalist who is most famous for his detailed paintings of birds.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
One of the greatest naturalists of all time, John James Audubon set out to paint all the different birds America. An adventurer at heart, Audubon could not settle down to be a farmer or a storekeeper. He was forever heading off into the wilderness to observe, collect and paint birds. He saw huge flocks of passenger pigeons, a species that is now extinct, and watched a flock of trumpeter swans scare off a pack of wolves. Audubon experienced all the privations and excitements that the western frontier had to offer: an earthquake, tremendous snows, and inhospitable bears. Today, Audubon's paintings of and notes about our country's birds are still enjoyed by bird lovers. Though this book is packed with information about a fascinating man, the anecdotes are, at times, somewhat disjointed. At the back of the book the reader will find notes from the author and the illustrator about Audubon and their personal experiences studying his life and work. 2003, Harry N. Abrams,
— Marya Jansen-Gruber
School Library Journal
The author focuses on several outstanding events in the painter's life and provides extensive explanatory notes and illustrations. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The son of a wealthy planter in the West Indies, naturalist and frontiersman John James Audubon devoted himself to difficult journeys through American forests, swamps, mountains, and plains in search of plants and animals unknown to science. Rather than telling the story of Audubon's whole life, Armstrong (co-author, The Kiln, p. 379, etc.) limits her perspective to Audubon's adventures from 1804 to 1812: the New Madrid earthquake, when "the world rattled and rumbled"; 160 flocks of passenger pigeons taking hours to storm overhead; an immense flock of trumpeter swans in battle with wolves; sharing the inside of a giant sycamore tree with 9,000 swirling swifts; and a chance encounter with Daniel Boone (though this may not have happened). Armstrong and Smith make a great team in this immensely likable biographical profile. The watercolor art, embellished with pencil, watercolor pencil, and pen and ink, is dramatic and a perfect complement to the vivid prose, as is the artwork by Audubon himself. Though the ending seems abrupt, long and interesting notes from both author and artist offer further information and guide readers to additional resources. The text, based on Audubon's personal diaries, is supplemented by research in the resources cited. Smith (Elwood and the Witch, 2000, etc.) offers interesting insights about the artwork, including a fascinating tidbit about Audubon's ability to paint two-handed, as portrayed early in the volume. An excellent example of what picture-book biography can be. (Picture book/biography. 5-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810942387
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/28/2003
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 5 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: 680L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 12.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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