Bass, Hester, Walter Inglis Anderson, and Earl B. Lewis. The Secret World of Walter Anderson. Cambridge, Mass: Candlewick Press, 2009.
Hester Bass has given her readers a glimpse into the secret world of Walter Anderson, where man and nature naturally combined to produce art. This world is safely entered into by children and adults. It is a world that welcomes the one that is seeking shelter and that freely gives of itself to those so inspired to follow.
Readers will actually find two separate works in this one volume. The first section depicts Walter’s story with the island The second offers more background on the art produced, includes a bibliography, and is intended for an older audience. This book fills a huge void in most traditional educational systems by creating awareness of more American artists.
The illustrative content in The Secret World of Walter Anderson answers the challenge: How does one illustrate the life of an artist and not be tempted to imitation? E. B. Lewis’ use of watercolor captured Walter Anderson without attempting to recreate his art. This use also restated Anderson’s relationship between himself and the environment.
All art teachers and school librarians will want to make sure that this book is available from PreK-12. The opportunities to integrate science and art abound. Public libraries will also want to consider adding it to their collection if they are located in a coastal region or have a thriving arts community.
4 out of 5
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