This admirable book's weakness is that it lives up to its series title, "Artists in Their Time." Each double-page spread serves as a chapter, with text, sidebar and timeline, photographs, quote, and reproductions of paintings by Hopper and artists of various periods. This layout provides opportunity for a great deal of information that may overload many readers. "The New Deal," for example, focuses on Wall Street, President Roosevelt, and Jackson Pollock; the only information about Hopper, who thrived during the Depression, is a list of his paintings that sold in 1929 to1930, with prices they brought. "The Restaurant Theme," includes a Hemingway photograph and information comparing Ernest Hemingway's writing to Hopper's artistic style. Few middle grade readers have the background to independently synthesize so much loosely connected information. Useful timelines found at the bottom of pages include both world events and events important to Hopper's life. A glossary, index, and list of museums that feature Hopper's work are in the back. This book would be a valuable companion to Raintree's superior Hopper biography. 2003, Franklin Watts/Scholastic, Ages 10 to 12.
Gr 4-8-For an older audience than Mike Venezia's "Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists" series (Children's), these titles offer an overview of each man's life and the time period in which he lived. Short sections of text are relieved by photographs, reproductions, and informational sidebars; quotes are interspersed throughout. Most spreads contain a time line, and the concluding section encapsulates all the major events and provides a list of galleries where the artwork can be viewed. Both books attempt to provide a balanced view by discussing not only the artists' contributions to their own and future generations, but also by painting a realistic picture of their character flaws. In keeping with the series title, these volumes devote an equal amount of space to other influential artists and movements. While the reproductions by fellow painters are valuable for comparison of style and subject matter, students will have to read the captions carefully or they might assume that all works are by the featured artist. Other than that, students will find these introductory biographies serviceable for research and interesting for browsing.-Laurie Edwards, West Shore School District, Camp Hill, PA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.