Beginning with Winslow Homer and ending with Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns, this picture-book overview introduces 13 well-known American artists. On each double-page spread, short biographies combine with richly reproduced images of the artists’ famous works; a time line that sets the artist’s life in historical context with other world events; an easy-reference box listing the artist’s birth and death dates, painting styles, and other facts; and suggestions for activities and further research. Occasional quiz questions that appear throughout the profiles create even more interactive opportunities. The peppy, exclamatory tone is occasionally cloying; for example, a caption for a Winslow Homer painting of boys playing in a field reads, “It’s time to have some fun on a sunny day!” And it’s puzzling that information about artistic mediums isn’t always listed next to the reproductions. Still, Finger, an art historian, writes with clarity and enthusiasm as he deftly incorporates details from the artists’ lives with observations about their work. A lengthy glossary closes this inviting survey that is well suited for both browsing and classroom use. Grades 2-4. --Gillian Engberg
From the Inside Flap
This lively introduction to some of the towering figures in American art will inspire children to dream, create, and think.