A Splash Of Red: The Life And Art Of Horace Pippin (Jen Bryant)


Hello, friends! Today’s review is A Splash Of Red: The Life And Art Of Horace Pippin, written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet. This beautiful picture book biography tells the story of American artist Horace Pippin, who overcame poverty, war, and a debilitating injury to become a beloved artist in his time.

Horace Pippin was born in 1888 to a family of loving sisters, mother, and grandmother. From childhood, he was encouraged to work hard and help his family with his hands – but at night, when the work was done, he was also encouraged to pursue his passion for drawing. Using a piece of charcoal on scraps of paper, he would sketch pictures for his doting sisters, even winning art supplies in a mail-in art contest. But when he returns home from WWI with a severe injury to his drawing arm, he is forced to give up his art and, no longer able to do manual labor, takes odd-jobs to support his family. But Horace’s passion cannot be contained forever: feeling the need to create art, he develops a method of painting with both hands, and eventually becomes a famous and prolific artist.

We really liked this look into the life of a man determined to create. It really was remarkable Horace as he feels such a call to art that he continues to pursue it, no matter the obstacle, and with no real hope or guarantee of being a success at it. Horace is a wonderful role model, and his story is told beautifully here. Especially lovely are the illustrations, which capture life, mood, and character gorgeously in a style that emulates Pippin’s paintings. The length could border on too long for smaller readers, but it was a intricate and vibrant art that kept JJ fascinated through to the end. A fantastic biography of a true artist, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Me, Frida (Amy Novesky)

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Summer Reading Day 47: Today’s book was Me, Frida by Amy Novesky, and as you could probably guess, it’s a children’s book about Frida Khalo. The story covers the period of time in which Frida moved with Diego Rivera to San Francisco and felt out of place and homesick. Eventually, of course, she worked hard, painted, and carved a life for herself by being herself, and all of that is covered here.

The story is a well-written, and leaves the reader with an important moral about perseverance and belief in yourself, even if it relies a little too heavily on Frida’s supposedly devoted and loving relationship with her husband (when in fact, their relationship was a tumultuous mess) as her motivation and validation. And of course, as you would expect from any book about Frida, the art is gorgeous. The length was not even unreasonable for a one-year old. Thumbs up!