Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - George Bellows: Painter With a Punch

Author/Illustrator: Robert Burleigh
Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers (June 1, 2012)
Pages: 48
Read Aloud Level: Grades 2nd to 5th
Independent Reading Level: 3rd to 6th
Source: Personal Copy
Nonfiction * Biographical * Art

Description from GoodReads:
No punches are pulled in this fascinating biography that covers the life and work of the prolific artist George Bellows. Having spent most of his adult life in New York City, Bellows left behind an extraordinary body of work that captures life in this dynamic city: bustling street scenes, ringside views of boxing matches, and boys diving and swimming in the East River. Art reproductions and photographs from his youth round out the book.

My thoughts on the book:
Robert Burleigh has written and illustrated over 40 children's picture books.  One of his most recent books is George Bellows: Painter With a Punch.  In this narrative style biography, Burleigh provides young readers with information about the life and work of George Bellows.  Bellows was born in 1882 in Columbus, Ohio. As a young boy and teen, Bellows was both athletic and artistic.  However, it was his interest in art that led him from Ohio to New York despite his father's desire to see him complete college and a degree in business.

Bellows adopted New York as his home and it is the people and places of New York that feature prominently in his artwork.  Burleigh uses Bellows' paintings and photographs of the artist to compliment the text.  Through Burleigh's words readers catch a glimpse of Bellows and what motivated him to paint.  Rather than focus on what may have been more acceptable topics for painting, Bellows portrays all sides of life in New York including the dark and less attractive aspects of the city.

Burleigh provides readers with short commentary throughout the book about the paintings that are included.   At the end, readers can also look through the resources and documentation.  Though I was expecting the book to be focused more on Bellows' three boxing paintings, I was pleased with the whole book.  Definitely a book to be included in any classroom or school library.
Video: "The Art of Boxing"- - "George Bellows" at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

I found this video on YouTube and thought readers might be interested in seeing the 3 pieces of work shown in the book.  

Robert Burleigh: Official Website 

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