The Amazing Collection of Joey Cornell: Based on the Childhood of a Great American Artist

Candace Fleming, illus. by Gérard DuBois. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 (36p) ISBN 978-0-399-55238-0
In this fictionalized account, Fleming focuses on the childhood of outsider artist Joseph Cornell, when he began collecting the found objects that would later comprise his assemblage pieces. She explains that Cornell initially kept his collections in a wheeled wagon in his bedroom, before eventually expanding into the barn. His sisters call him a “trash picker” and “pack rat,” but his mother dubs his collecting habits, “Weird... but wonderful.” Throughout, Fleming alludes to Cornell’s inspirations and influences, including a performance by Harry Houdini (after seeing Houdini’s show, Cornell adds an iron safe to his collection). The death of his father led him to immerse himself in his collection; in organizing the pieces, he determines he isn’t just a collector but an artist. In DuBois’s enigmatic art, Cornell, his mother, and his siblings resemble artifacts themselves, looking a bit like antique bisque dolls. Fleming sensitively conveys how an artist’s work is an evolving collage of experiences and observations that, together, creates meaning. An introductory note dives into Cornell’s later life. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Ethan Ellenberg, Ethan Ellenberg Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/15/2018
Release date: 02/27/2018
Genre: Children's
Library Binding - 36 pages - 978-0-399-55239-7
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