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

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

Jen Bryant, illus. by Melissa Sweet. Knopf, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-375-86712-5

The team behind the Caldecott Honor book A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams returns with a rewarding picture-book biography of self-taught African-American artist Horace Pippin. As a child, Pippin drew pictures at every opportunity, but his family's economic struggles eventually necessitated that he use his "big hands" in many other roles, including "stacking grain sacks at a feed store, shoveling coal at a rail yard," and later serving in WWI. Despite a war injury to his right arm, Pippin adapted in order to continue drawing and painting, eventually leading to recognition and fame in the art world. Sweet's naïf mixed-media collages blend thick, solid color blocks with motifs mined from Pippin's vibrant compositions, which range from war scenes to that of children at play. Quotations from Pippin about the psychological scars of war and his artistic process are hand-drawn into Sweet's images, underscoring how art was not only a joyful outlet for Pippin, but also a vital means of interpreting the world. Ages 5 – 8. Author's agent: Alyssa Eisner Henkin, Trident Media Group. (Jan.)