American Gothic: The Life of Grant Wood

illus. by Ross MacDonald. 40p. bibliog. chron. photos. reprods. Abrams. Sept. 2017. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781419725333.
K-Gr 3—From humble beginnings sketching corn fields in rural Iowa, overall-clad Grant Wood traversed Europe in search of artistic inspiration only to find it back home in the Depression-era American Midwest. The immense success of American Gothic heralded the style of Regionalism and showcased the hardworking residents of the heartland. Wood's narrative reads like a treasured story about an admired family member. Expertly matched with MacDonald's light-infused illustrations, the retro comic art style and vintage typeface capture the connection between the heart of Grant Wood and the landscapes (and people) that he loved. Designed to be read aloud and enjoyed by all ages, a gentle nudge to follow one's own creative instincts emerges from the straightforward text. Author's notes include photographs, anecdotes, and a time line of the artist's short life.
VERDICT An introduction to the artist, the movement, and the famous painting, this book illuminates and exalts the U.S. artist who followed his heart and drew what he knew best. Enjoyable as it is informative, it is a fine purchase for all elementary school libraries.

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