Hi, I’m Norman – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: Hi, I’m Norman – The Story of American Illustrator NORMAN ROCKWELL

Author: Robert Burleigh

Illustrator: Wendell Minor

 Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2019

Ages: 5-9

Themes: American artists, Norman Rockwell, oil paintings, artist’s biography,

Opening:

Hi, I’m Norman, Norman Rockwell. Come on in.

This is my studio. Here’s he easel where I paint, and there are the paints, the brushes, my chair, and the walls hung with sketches—you name it.

I love it here. Every artist loves being in a studio. I close the door behind me and enter my own special world. Because art is my life and has been for as long as I can remember. Of course, I haven’t always had a nice studio like this one. No, not at all.

Synopsis:

This is a first-person narrative exploring Rockwell’s life in episodes based on important moments in American history. Norman Rockwell is not only a great American artist, but he also successfully chronicled two generations of American life, making him one of the most beloved and well-known American artists of all time.

Why I like this book:

Robert Burleigh and Wendell Minor have joined forces to present a stunning introduction for young people to American Illustrator, Norman Rockwell, who is best known for capturing the American spirit as a painter and illustrator in the late twentieth century.

Beginning at the front end pages and running all the way through the back, readers learn about what inspired Rockwell. Burleigh uses first person narrative and you can hear Rockwell telling his own story of growing up, including comments and the occasional question that Rockwell might have raised along the way for readers to ponder. Picture book artist and author (and art director) have picked a perfect selection of works by Rockwell to highlight his life and work.

Wendell Minor’s love for Rockwell and his work is so evident in these pages; one can see that he has spent hours studying its style and content. He has captured the essence of Rockwell’s art and his love of the artist is palpable in his watercolor, gouache, and pencil illustrations.

This intimate biography of an American icon, is a must-purchase for Rockwell fans and school artist biography collections.

Activities/resources:

During this #shelterathome period, the Norman Rockwell Museum is offering the virtual museum for an online experience!

The back matter includes a two-page biography about Rockwell, which fills in many gaps. Author and Illustrator Notes broaden the experience and add depth to this work. A listing of paintings by Rockwell and rendered in the book art are listed (in chronological order), a timeline of Rockwell’s life, five of Rockwell’s most outstanding works are briefly discussed, a list of resources for all ages, and some quotes from Rockwell’s biography round out the book.

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

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6 Responses to Hi, I’m Norman – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been an admirer of Norman Rockwell’s illustrations. From what I can tell, Wendell Minor knows exactly how to capture the essence of Mr. Rockwell’s art. I love that you included a link for us to take a virtual tour of the Norman Rockwell Museum. I’m off to explore! Thank you so much.

  2. The title is so inviting and friendly, as he invites readers into his studio. Cool beginning. I have love his artwork. I would enjoy learning more about his early years. Yes, thanks for sharing a virtual tour link of the museum! What fun!

  3. ah, an invitation to join Norman and hang out in his studio… who can resist?

  4. Jilanne Hoffmann says:

    Oh, this is fascinating. Love the illustrations and very personable way the author draws the reader into the story. I’m wondering if Burleigh used journals or other personal writings to inform his first person decision? Does it say in the back matter how this choice was made? And I’m wondering if it would be shelved in nonfiction?

  5. Joanna, I love that you highlighted another of Robert & Wendell’s books. I haven’t seen this one – on my TBR list (once the libraries open). So glad you included the link to the museum. That cover is so enticing!

  6. Patricia Nozell says:

    Such an inviting cover & opening lines. This truly must have been a collaboration of author & illustrator to capture the life & artistry of this iconic American. I’ve added it to my growing “to request list” in my library system. Thanks for a great review.

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