The Snail

Chronicle. Nov. 2022. 88p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781797204673.
Gr 2-4–An enigmatic book on the life and art of Isamu Noguchi, the artist and landscape architect whose work included stage sets for productions by Martha Graham as well as furniture and lighting pieces that are still being manufactured and sold. Opening with him shouting into the phone, “America never wanted me,” Hughes sets the central theme as his struggle between acceptance and rejection in the United States and Japan. Noguchi grew up between these two countries in the early 20th century and readers will see and feel the pull of the two cultures throughout the book. The illustrations are detailed and fascinating, a blend of black-and-white drawings and full-color renderings highlighting the art-making process and the places Noguchi lived and worked. Longer than most picture books, lacking back matter, and told in three parts, this title will all but force interested readers to do further research: the facts shared are somewhat spare about this life well worth knowing. The book will beguile older readers who are interested in artists and their creative process and who will treat this book as a stepping stone to knowing more about Noguchi.
VERDICT Not a straightforward biography of the artist, this is recommended for collections where other materials on the life and work of Noguchi are available.

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