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A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin

by Jen Bryant
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Published by Alfred A. Knopf, 2013
36 pages
ISBN: 978-0-375-86712-5

Ages 5-9

Horace Pippin loved to draw when he was a child, using whatever materials he had at hand. He even won a contest, and his first real art supplies! Once he started supporting his family as a young teen he still drew whenever he could. Then Horace went off to fight in World War I and was injured. No longer able to lift the arm with which he drew, he used one hand to hold the other up and began creating scenes burned in wood, and then continued painting. His subjects were the images that filled his mind--of times of war, of scenes from daily life, of stories from the Bible, of meaningful moments in history. Jen Bryant’s lovely narrative tribute to the self-taught African American painter who went from obscure to highly sought-after artist once painter N. C. Wyeth saw and helped promote his work embraces Horace’s humility and grace. Bryant and illustrator Melissa Sweet researched Pippin together, and Sweet’s thoughtfully composed, often moving mixed-media illustrations draw inspiration directly from Pippin’s palette, as well as details from his life, and words that he spoke: quotes from Horace Pippin are incorporated into the art. A historical note provides a photograph of Pippin and more information about his life and work. The picture book biography concludes with notes on the author’s and illustrator’s research, source notes, and ample resources for further inquiry. (Small reproductions of several of Pippin’s paintings appear on the back endpapers.) (MS) ©2013 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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