Synopses & Reviews
andlt;iandgt;A is for Art: An Abstract Alphabetandlt;/iandgt; is a remarkable journey of discovery about art and language through painting, collage, and sculpture by Caldecott Honor artist Stephen T. Johnson. With literal renderings of each letter, complete with witty titles and playful, alliterative captions, Johnson's abstract art forges connections between words, objects, and ideas. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; Can you find the hidden letters? Look closely and you will see a letter andlt;iandgt;Candlt;/iandgt; made of colorful candy, a letter andlt;iandgt;Handlt;/iandgt; hidden in a hook, and an andlt;iandgt;Sandlt;/iandgt; in a soft shadow. From A to Z, each stunning, original work of art will stimulate the imagination and creativity of children and adults alike.
"Baby Einstein grads seeking their first coffee-table book might savor this abecedary, which pays homage to abstract expressionism and pop art. Johnson (Alphabet City) creates a multimedia artwork for each letter and describes it with a lengthy alliterative caption. Letter C's 'Camouflage' consists of 'countless colorful candies' in a 'clear circular container.' In H's 'Hoopla,' an installation of silvery-blue hula hoops hangs from an industrial ceiling, while M's 'Meditation on the Memory of a Princess' references fairy tales with eight stacked magenta mattresses and a 'mini mauve marble.' Connoisseurs will detect allusions to Rauschenberg, Lichtenstein and Motherwell; details of the pieces sometimes become microscopic on the pages, but a dust-jacket photo of Johnson in his studio confirms this project's impressive scope. Unfortunately, salient associations can be lost in transition to page with the reduction of scale. Crisp white backgrounds reinforce the book's resemblance to an exhibition catalogue, as does a disconcertingly lofty foreword where Johnson explains, 'I took ordinary objects and made them unfamiliar, removing functionality in order to reveal their potential metaphorical associations.' The apparatus may not enhance the ABC game, but opens the book to an adult audience. Ages 5 9. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Stephen T. Johnson is the creator of such well-known childrenandrsquo;s books as the andlt;iandgt;Publishers Weeklyandlt;/iandgt; bestseller andlt;iandgt;My Little Red Toolboxandlt;/iandgt;, the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award winner andlt;iandgt;My Little Yellow Taxiandlt;/iandgt;, the Caldecott Honor and andlt;iandgt;New York Timesandlt;/iandgt; Best Illustrated Book of the Year andlt;iandgt;Alphabet Cityandlt;/iandgt;, and the andlt;iandgt;New York Timesandlt;/iandgt; Best Illustrated and ALA Notable Book andlt;iandgt;A Is for Artandlt;/iandgt;. His drawings and paintings are in numerous private and permanent collections, including the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and a mosaic mural at the DeKalb Avenue subway station in Brooklyn, New York. Johnson and his family live in Lawrence, Kansas. Visit him at StephenJohnsonStudio.com.