L'il Sis and Uncle Willie: A Story Based on the Life and Paintings of William H. Johnson

L'il Sis and Uncle Willie: A Story Based on the Life and Paintings of William H. Johnson

by Gwen Everett, William H. Johnson, National Museum of American Art Staff

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-- When Uncle Willie visits her South Carolina home, L'il Sis begins a close relationship with the warm, understanding man that endures throughletters for many years. Uncle Willie is William H. Johnson, an African-American painter whose work (from the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution) illustrates and is the inspiration for the story. While it is unusual for a text to be written to accompany illustrations, in this case, it works beautifully. Johnson's paintings are varied in style from a strongly textured almost impressionistic self-portrait, to a geometric, flat-toned picture of children playing by a dock, to a lively and imaginative primitive Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. He paints both historical and contemporary subjects such as L'il Sis and her doll, life in pre-World War II Harlem, and the hanging of Nat Turner. Through his art, readers and Sis come to see some of the harshness and beauty in the African-American experience. Sis's first-person narration brings the story to a child's level, explaining such things as the Underground Railroad. The warmth of the special uncle-niece relationship shines through and makes readers care about Uncle Willie, his artwork, and the life and places he painted. --Louise L. Sherman, Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ

Product Details

Publication date:
Children's Library, Fine Arts for Young People
Product dimensions:
8.66(w) x 10.63(h) x (d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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