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|Drawing from memory|
Author: Say, Allen
Chronicles Say's journey as an artist during WW II, when he apprenticed under Noro Shinpei, Japan's premier cartoonist.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.10
Points: 1.0 Quiz: 146341
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 4.20
Points: 5.0 Quiz: 53955
Booklist - 08/01/2011 *Starred Review* Say, a Caldecott Medal–winning picture-book creator, returns to his most fertile ground—true life—to tell the story of how he became an artist. He began living alone when he was 12, paying a little attention to schoolwork and a lot of attention to drawing, a pursuit that flourished under the mentorship of his favorite cartoonist, Noro Shinpei. His narrative is fascinating, winding through formative early-teen experiences in Japan as he honed his skills and opened his eyes to the greater world around him. This heavily illustrated autobiography features Say’s characteristically strong artwork. The visually stunning sequences include a standout scene in which the young artist and a friend stumble upon a massive demonstration, which is depicted as a huge crowd of people that snakes down one page and is stopped short by a brick wall of police on the next. The scrapbook format features photographs, many of them dim with age; sketchbook drawings; and unordered, comic-book-style panels that float around wide swathes of text and unboxed captions, and the overall effect is sometimes disjointed. Still, as a portrait of a young artist, this is a powerful title that is both culturally and personally resonant. - Copyright 2011 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 09/01/2011 Caldecott-winning artist Allen Say has often drawn on his own family history in his books, but here for the first time he recounts his story directly, chronicling his youth in Japan and especially his artistic education both at school and in his apprenticeship with the noted cartoonist Noro Shinpei. He writes of growing up in wartime and post-war Japan (“When the war ended . . . everything was broken”), of a family that disapproved of his passion for art, and of his determination to pursue it nonetheless, even to the point of boldly approaching his idol and asking for tutelage. It’s a fascinating story, filled with startling developments (Say’s being put up alone in a Tokyo apartment at the age of twelve, his becoming the model for a cartoon character in his master’s popular cartoons) but also the ebb and flow of young life-talented classmates, inspiring teachers, girls that one likes from afar, knowing no other way. There’s a thoughtful, measured quality to Say’s modest storytelling, but it’s never dry; compact, simple sentences convey an existence teeming with human interaction (even from afar, his father exerts an influence) and human endeavor as the young boy develops his artistic skills. The narrative is as visual as it is textual, with period photographs, art from Say’s youth, and occasional images from his books joining forces with new illustrations that document his past in clean-lined graphic-novel-styled panel art. While this will obviously appeal to fans of Say’s books, young artists in general will warm to the account of artistic apprenticeship, and those who enjoyed Lat’s Kampung Boy (BCCB 1/07) may also appreciate this strongly visual account of youth in a very different time and place. A closing note talks more about Noro Shinpei and Say’s relationship with him. DS - Copyright 2011 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 09/01/2011 Gr 4 Up—Say tells the story of how he became an artist through a vibrant blend of words and images. Beginning with his boyhood in World War II-era Japan, he traces his life-changing relationship with Noro Shinpei, an illustrious cartoonist who became his surrogate father figure and art mentor. Illustrations are richly detailed and infused with warmth. Exquisite use of light makes night scenes glow, and the mid-20th-century Tokyo setting is captured with vivid authenticity. A variety of media and artistic styles, including full-color paintings, black-and-white sketches, photographs, and comic-book panels, adds texture and depth to the narrative. Fans of the artist's work will take particular delight in seeing sketches from his student days. Simple, straightforward sentences and a conversational narration in combination with a wealth of images will appeal to aspiring artists and reluctant readers alike. This book covers much of the same material as Say's autobiographical novel, The Ink-Keeper's Apprentice (Harper & Row, 1979), but the lively mix of art and text will draw in a new generation and a slightly younger audience. The somewhat abrupt ending, with Say moving to the United States, may leave readers wishing for a more extended epilogue or sequel, but that is simply because his story is so engaging. Readers of all ages will be inspired by the young Say's drive and determination that set him on a successful career path.—Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CA - Copyright 2011 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.