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!

Little People, Big Dreams: Amelia Earhart (Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara)

Hello, friends! Today’s book is Little People, Big Dreams: Amelia Earhart, written by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara and illustrated by Mariadiamantes, a sweet and very cute picture book biography of Amelia Earhart that inspires all little ones to chase their dreams.

Cutting down the details of Earhart’s remarkable life to bare-bones, easy-to-grasp highlights, our story starts with little Amelia and her dream: to fly. Falling in love with aviation at a young age, she never let conventions or doubts deter her from chasing the excitement and dangers of her passion for flying. She founded an aviation club for female pilots, navigated the Atlantic both with a team and solo, and nearly made it around the globe before disappearing. And though her ending is a sad one, Amelia disappeared doing what she felt she should, and what she felt she must: paving the way for more explorers to chart their own paths, regardless of their gender.

Sometimes it’s hard to properly capture inspirational yet tragic figures such as Earhart in children’s books, but this one does a commendable job. The story is meant to focus on Earhart’s courage and achievements, but doesn’t shy away from her disappearance, and even provides a more in-depth timeline of her life as an appendix for older readers. The art is simple yet lovely, using bold colors and basic shapes to paint poignant visuals. The length is great, and JJ enjoyed this one a lot. This is a great way to introduce the littlest readers to feminist icons, and we look forward to checking out more of the series! Baby Bookworm approved!