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

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
Hokusai: The Man Who Painted a Mountain

Hokusai: The Man Who Painted a Mountain

Fall 2001 Picture Books
Ages: 7 & Up
By: Deborah Kogan Ray
ISBN: 0-374-33263-0
Hardcover Price: $18.00
The picture book provides an ideal vehicle for a biography of the renowned Japanese artist Hokusai. Author/artist Ray's pleasing horizontal format assigns three-quarters of the space on each double page to her illustrations. The reader/viewer comes to appreciate the magic of Mt. Fuji as Hokusai saw it from boyhood; we feel as though we are with him during his apprenticeship as a woodblock engraver and get an uncanny sense of what Edo (now Tokyo) was like in the late 18th century when the artist was beginning his career. Ray's text is well-researched and informative but rather dry. The book's most dramatic moment comes when we see a handsome reproduction of Hokusai's most famous print, "The Great Wave Off Kanagawa," one of more than 100 prints he made of Mt. Fuji during his long lifetime. The artist died at 79 in 1849. When his prints reached France in 1856, Hokusai had a decided influence on the Impressionists. Instructive, but tough-sledding to read.
Selma G. Lanes   ©2001 Parents' Choice

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