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In Mary's Garden
     

In Mary's Garden

by Tina Kugler, Carson Kugler
 

While the rest of her classmates were making pastries in cooking classes, Mary Nohl was making art—anything she fancied out of anything she could find. Inspiration struck Mary even when she wasn’t looking for it. Mary used common objects to make uncommon art. And one day, her garden was a gallery.
        Mary

Overview


While the rest of her classmates were making pastries in cooking classes, Mary Nohl was making art—anything she fancied out of anything she could find. Inspiration struck Mary even when she wasn’t looking for it. Mary used common objects to make uncommon art. And one day, her garden was a gallery.
        Mary Nohl passed away in 2001 at the age of eighty-seven. Her famous garden gallery is located in the front yard of her Fox Point, Wisconsin, home to this day.

Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Maria Russo
The Wisconsin outsider artist Mary Nohl, who died in 2001, makes a clever picture book subject.
Publishers Weekly
01/19/2015
In a quiet homage, the Küglers introduce artist Mary Nohl, who transformed her lakeside home into a bestiary of sculptures created from concrete and found objects: “Mary was happiest when her hands were busy making, building, creating things.” Chalky mixed-media collages are punctuated by items of significance—a blue feather, a red wheelbarrow, and a piece of driftwood that Nohl sees as a “marvelous creature.” With Nohl’s triangular nose, crooked mouth, and beady eyes, she almost resembles one of her creations. An ornamental gate encloses her garden, as if to emphasize Nohl’s total immersion within a private, fantastical world. Additional biographical information elaborates on the artist’s life and work. Ages 6–9. (Mar.)
From the Publisher

"This quiet, engaging offering celebrates the artist's vision and her idiosyncratic work."
—Booklist

"The illustrations combine watercolor with digital painting, collage, and vintage papers, resulting in a soft palette and an uncomplicated, accessible drawing style. Children will delight in the whimsy of the art pieces and their placement in the garden as well as the participation of Mary’s dogs, Sassafras and Basil, in the discovery process."
—School Library Journal

"The Küglers use watercolor, digital painting, collage and vintage papers to portray Mary's world and sculptures...A friendly chronicle of an offbeat artist."
—Kirkus

"Chalky mixed-media collages are punctuated by items of significance...a quiet homage."
—Publishers Weekly

"The authors embellish their picture-book biography of artist Mary Nohl (1914–2001) with touches of whimsy...The illustrations—digital collages of scratchy, affectionate paintings on an assortment of papers—mirror this sense of wonder."
—Horn Book Magazine

"An appealing and kid-friendly introduction to Nohl's art."
—Bulletin
Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
The Küglers, husband and wife collaborators, have planned for ten years to bring young readers the story of Milwaukee artist Mary Nohl (1914-2001), who created a fabulous garden around her parents’ former lakeside cottage. Mary is shown as a rather plain but creative girl, designing a winning model plane and learning from her father how to mix cement. She travels to exotic places and draws the colorful folk art she sees. Back home, she remembers the things she saw during a cold, white winter. Skipping several years, the Küglers show Mary and her two dogs exploring the beach for interesting objects—stones, colored glass, a key, a broken comb—and hauling them home. From these found objects and cement, Mary creates a huge statue: a beaming giant with driftwood antlers, shown in an awe-inspiring vertical spread . Through the years, she continues to add sculptures, while an intricately patterned gate flanked by smiling heads leads into the garden. The Küglers used watercolor and digital collage to show the magic, subtly incorporating vintage postcards, bills, and letters into the illustration backgrounds. Each spread has its own attractive palette, often accented with bright red; especially evocative is a violet twilight scene. From the authors’ poignant endnote, we learn that, after Nohl’s death, residents in her upscale neighborhood objected to her statues, some of which have been vandalized. The Küglers express their hope that her art can be preserved and appreciated. On their website, they’ve posted that recent plans to move the entire property have been abandoned, since the statues are too fragile. Children enchanted by Mary’s garden and adult art-lovers interested in historic preservation can write letters to support the preservation efforts. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft; Ages 4 to 8.
School Library Journal
01/01/2015
PreS-Gr 2—Children are introduced to a lesser-known contemporary Midwestern American artist in this picture-book biography of Mary Nohl (1914–2001). A spare narrative allows the pictures to describe how, from childhood, Nohl's imagination soared as she explored the many interests that led her to combine found objects with cement to create fantastical creatures, eventually installed in the garden surrounding the Lake Michigan home she built with her father. World travels provided further inspiration for her non-traditional, sometimes primitive, art, ably represented here mostly in spreads that convey the scope and variety of Nohl's work. The illustrations combine watercolor with digital painting, collage, and vintage papers, resulting in a soft palette and an uncomplicated, accessible drawing style. Children will delight in the whimsy of the art pieces and their placement in the garden as well as the participation of Mary's dogs, Sassafras and Basil, in the discovery process. An author's note, accompanied by two photographs, gives more detail about Nohl's life and the challenge of preserving her home and garden for public enjoyment.—Marie Orlando, formerly at Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY
Kirkus Reviews
2015-01-10
A portrait of Wisconsin folk artist Mary Nohl (1914-2001) and her sculptures.As a child, "[w]hile the other girls [take] cooking classes," Mary learns woodworking and makes an airplane. She helps her father build a house on Lake Michigan's shore and realizes that she loves to create things with her hands. Collecting driftwood, feathers and rocks, Mary employs her building skills—mixing cement with beach sand, as her father showed her, and spreading it over a support of wood, wire and piping—to create a massive, playful-looking creature. The Küglers use watercolor, digital painting, collage and vintage papers to portray Mary's world and sculptures. Some of the illustration has a stylized folk-art feel, blocky and angular in mild colors, while Mary's dogs have rounder lines. Mary's sculptures vary in scale, so the illustrations play with scale too. In one example, Mary and her dogs discover "a marvelous creature washed up on the sand." The purple, wavy-limbed object looks enormous—until the following spread reveals it to be a small, beige piece of driftwood. That driftwood becomes an antler on Mary's huge, sculpted creature. An author's note explains Mary's eccentricities—melting silverware, painting on indoor carpeting—and the controversy of her neighborhood's refusal to allow public visitors into her garden of odd, fantastical creatures. A friendly chronicle of an offbeat artist. (author's note, photos) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780544272200
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
03/17/2015
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
883,004
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 11.20(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
650L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Meet the Author


Author-illustrator Tina Kügler lives in the Los Angeles area with her artist husband, three sons, and an enormous hairy dog named Harryhausen. When she is not making picture books, she can be found trying to befriend snails and worms in her backyard.

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