Jacob Lawrence: American Scenes, American Struggles

Jacob Lawrence: American Scenes, American Struggles

by Nancy Shroyer Howard
     
 

Take a closer look at the American scene through the eyes of an extremely talented artist. Page after page of beautiful, original artwork fills the mind with portraits, trials, and tribulations of American life from the early 1900s to the present day. Visualize the struggles of African-Americans--and of the United States as a whole--from the days of slavery to…  See more details below

Overview

Take a closer look at the American scene through the eyes of an extremely talented artist. Page after page of beautiful, original artwork fills the mind with portraits, trials, and tribulations of American life from the early 1900s to the present day. Visualize the struggles of African-Americans--and of the United States as a whole--from the days of slavery to celebrations of today. Included are different types of activities for exploring paintings that will spark creativity and imagination.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Howard's tribute to Jacob Lawrence (see Toussaint L'Ouverture, reviewed above) takes on the artist's personal history, the intricacies of his "collage cubist" style, the lives of four black heroes and the reader's own creative imagination-all at once. As the stories of Toussaint L'Ouverture, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman and John Brown-as well as the artist's own life-unfold in excerpts from Lawrence's series of paintings, exercises help the reader understand the artist's use of symbolism, composition and abstraction. Simple activities urge readers to experience the paintings through movement ("You can see how the artist creates a dramatic mood by posing your body in the same positions as Harriet [Tubman]'s body") or through the creation of their own images and stories. Driven by the multiple imperatives of history, art history and biography, the busy layout eventually becomes visually exhausting. The final, unillustrated biographical note fills in material that is elsewhere covered in fragments. While the mishmash of text, captions, biographical quotes and exercises is intended to help readers see the art, the eclectic format leaves little opportunity for quiet contemplation. Ages 8-up. (Oct.)
Kirkus Reviews
Most of Lawrence's works that are covered in this book—subtitled "American Scenes, American Struggles"—such as The Great Migration, or the lives of Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and Toussaint L'Ouverture, involve a series of paintings that chronicle African-American history or create a biographical portrait. The approach in this Closer Look Activity Book, which sends readers through the pages for answers to multiple questions, is a little overbearing in paintings that eloquently speak for themselves. Howard offers several paths: Text printed in italics represents direct quotes; red, yellow, and green squares and progressively shrinking typeface indicate projects related to the art. Captions and cartoon bubbles further animate the paintings.

The reproductions of Lawrence's work are quite good, and many of the questions help readers identify his use of symbols, understand the stories his painting tell, and learn about his life. Unlike The Great Migration (1993), which reads like a quiet walk through a gallery accompanied by the artist, Howard's book is more like a scavenger hunt through the art itself.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780871923028
Publisher:
Davis Publications, Incorporated
Publication date:
05/01/1996
Series:
Closer Look Activity Book Series
Pages:
46
Product dimensions:
8.77(w) x 10.28(h) x 0.42(d)
Age Range:
8 - 11 Years

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