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Hokusai: The Man Who Painted a Mountain Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 9, 2001


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Hardcover, Bargain Price, October 9, 2001
$66.59 $13.40

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (October 9, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374332630
  • ASIN: B0002D6CGG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,358,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The spirit of Hokusai, the Japanese artist best-known for his Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji, moves through the pages of Ray's (The Barn Owl) study with indefatigable energy. Born in 1760 and a rare peasant to rise to prominence during an era when Japan remained closed to the outside world, Hokusai outshone his masters and defied convention until his death at age 89. The painter, who never knew his father and whose mother died when he was just six years old, developed a quiet confidence and portrayed the peasantry from whence he came: " `I must paint the way my heart tells me,' he told wealthy patrons when they refused to buy his pictures of laboring artisans and humble farmers toiling in the fields." Ray's wash and colored-pencil illustrations depict Kabuki stages and fish markets that echo Hokusai's own sketches of everyday life (reproduced on the book's endpapers) yet her style remains her own. Instead of emulating the empty spaces and delicate brushwork characteristic of Japanese artwork, she drafts her figures with tangible weight and mass and clothes them in heavily shaded robes in deep blue, red and aqua. The text supplies plenty of historical background without undue complexity. Older children will be drawn to Hokusai's lively world, and adults will find inspiration in the man who wrote as he lay dying, "Even as a ghost/ I'll gaily tread/ the summer moors." Ages 7-up.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Gr 4-6-Born into poverty and orphaned at six years old, Hokusai longed for an environment that would allow him the opportunity to read and draw. Although faced with dire challenges, his determination and talent carried him through childhood until he could set his course on a road that led to greatness. Hokusai produced 30,000 works of art, including the famous Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji. This picture-book biography tells of the life of a man who influenced Western Impressionists as well as Eastern talents. The text and evocative artwork provide details and scenes of everyday Japanese life in the 19th century. The illustrations include accomplished soft watercolor and colored-pencil paintings, labeled Chinese characters, drawings from the artist's sketchbooks, and a reproduction of Hokusai's "The Great Wave off Kanagawa." Julia Altmann's One Day in Japan with Hokusai (Prestel, 2001) is a semi-fictionalized account of the man illustrated with his woodblock prints. Ray's delightful offering will be enjoyed by budding artists and biography fans, and will be a useful adjunct to studies on art, artists, or Japan and its culture.

Ilene Abramson, Los Angeles Public Library

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Deborah Kogan Ray is a painter and printmaker, who became an illustrator when she discovered she could take words, and make them into images. She became a writer when she discovered she could take images and turn them into words. A self -described "research junky", she now specializes in writing and illustrating biographies about "people who should be much better known". She has written and illustrated 19 books and illustrated 54 in her career. Her books have received many awards, including the Coretta Scott King, Parents Choice and Bank Street Honors, 'Notables' from the American Library Association, NCSS/CBC for social studies, National Science Teachers of America, the International Reading Association, and state reading associations. Her books have been featured on Book-TV, and Reading Rainbow. Two recent biographies Wanda Gag: The Girl Who Lived to Draw (2008), and Dinosaur Mountain: Digging Into the Jurassic Age (2010) were picked by on-line reviewers for the "Cybil" award in non-fiction. Her latest book is Paiute Princess: The Story of Sarah Winnemucca published in 2012.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By P. Gardner on April 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This story of a famous Japanese artist (1760-1849) is beautifully written and illustrated. It is a story of rising beyond the limitations of class, of educating oneself through persistence and hard work, and of not being confined by the narrow views of others to reach one's potential. Katsushik Hokusai influenced the work of Western Impressionists artists. This is a book not to be missed if you are studying this prolific artist.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By mcHaiku on March 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Authors are often advised to "write what you know" but when a Japanese artist in the 19th century defied convention to paint the familiar - - the humblest of peasants, 'fragrant' laborers in fish markets - - wealthy patrons would not buy his art. However, Hokusai persisted and his influence has been phenomenal. He used more than thirty other names in his lifetime. The name "Hokusai" was adopted officially when he was 36 years old. It meant *North Star Studio." Hokusai was a Buddhist and believed that the constellations had the power to guide him. His art was his 'North Star' I believe, or his sun or moon? Sometimes we read about persons that we *ache* to have known; Hokusai was such a person for me.

Amazingly he changed his place of residence more than ninety times. Every morning he sketched a *lion-dog* for good luck. It may have had something to do with his longevity; he did not die until he was in his ninetieth year! He painted often the actors in the Noh theatre, and the more plebeian Kabuki plays. Those flamboyant actors leant themselves to portraiture that easily found buyers. His woodcut "The Great Wave off Kanegawa" (reproduced in Ray's book) has probably been "altered" or used for cartoons, t-shirts, etc., as often as Grant Wood's "American Gothic."

Can any of us imagine composing over 30,000 works of art in a lifetime? Hokusai claimed he drew nothing of great note before the age of 70. He called himself *Gakyo Rojin* which translates "old man mad about painting." As mentioned, his 'output' was prodigious. His mother died when he was six years old. She had promised to take him on a pilgrimage to Mt. Fuji, and his fascination for the mountain never waned. Cherry trees bloomed like billowing clouds on the pilgrims' path in his paintings.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Heiss on May 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Deborah Kogan Ray, the author/illustrator of this book, got it exactly right. Japanese art is iconic and beautiful and very stylized, and the illustrations in this book demonstrate those same qualities.

The author includes words in Kanji (Japanese characters) as well as reproductions of Hokusai's changing signatures.

The narration of the book is peaceful, restful, perfect for reading out loud. Your young artists will enjoy this biography -- a masterpiece in the text and the art.

Brilliant work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sara D. Nash on December 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I teach elementary art. There are a lot of words and I wouldn't recommend it for little children. nice illustrations
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By Kindle Customer on March 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book with beautiful illustrations. It shows a glimpse in the life of a significant Japanese artist.
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