Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Non-Fiction
A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin

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

Spring 2013 Non-Fiction
Ages: All Ages
Author: Jen Bryant
Illustrator: Melissa Sweet
Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 978-0-375-86712-5
Hardcover Price: $17.99

"Pictures just come to my mind…and I tell my heart to go ahead." Big in stature and of heart, this grandson of a slave loved to draw but rarely had the time. He lived in poverty and worked menial jobs to help support his family. Nevertheless, every free moment throughout his life, he drew pictures of everything he saw and of the stories he heard. A seminal time occurred when he fought in the trenches of World War I. His pictures of that period are filled with the grays, blacks and browns around him, but he generally splashed a bit of red somewhere in his rough-hewn but strong compositions. His right arm was badly injured in the war, but he overcame that handicap by learning to hold his right hand steady with his left hand. His paintings eventually came to the attention of the artist, N. C. Wyeth, who introduced his work to others in the art world.

Inspired by Pippin's art, Melissa Sweet evokes his style in her illustrations. Scenes from his early life are in cheerful bright colors, and his war experiences are shown in the somber shades Pippin himself used. With engaging depictions of his life in mixed media, predominantly watercolor with Pippin's signature splashes of red, one fine artist pays tribute to another fine artist.

Kemie Nix   ©2013 Parents' Choice
Kemie Nix is Chairman of Children's Literature for Children (CLC), a non-profit, tax-exempt, educational organization dedicated to bringing children and books together. Mrs. Nix, a senior book editor for Parents' Choice, has a remarkable sense of selecting books children love to read.

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