Growing an Artist: The Story of a Landscaper and His Son

S. & S./Paula Wiseman. May 2022. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781534469273.
K-Gr 2–Sincere and lively with illustrative detail, Parra’s story reveals how his personal sense of creativity and esteem for hard work grew during his childhood experiences with his papi’s landscape company. Readers follow young Juanito for a full day as he accompanies his father to work for the first time. As he readily sketches and helps Papi with landscape work, readers meet the role models in Juanito’s childhood world—not just Papi but also long-time employee, Javier, from Mexico. This story offers teachable moments about the different but equally important roles that create a thriving community. The wood texture of Parra’s illustrations shows a mix of multi-sized, acrylic elements, while the greenery and blocky layers of straight and curved edges appear like a refreshing mosaic of solid shapes and color. In an author’s note, Parra delves deeper his father’s life story.
VERDICT In a reflective nod to his youthful days spent with his father, Parra presents a balanced, intricate illustrative style to convey his earnest appreciation for hard work, lessons, and creative influence.

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