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Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Secret World of Walter Anderson by Hester Bass



Release Date - August 2014 (Reissue)

Hester Bass
E.B. Lewis
Candlewick

Book Review by Jessica Maguire

Walter Anderson has aptly been called 'the most famous American artist you've never heard of.' Living on the coast of Mississippi, Walter preferred the solitude of Horn Island. On the island he risked life and limb to study nature and paint.
Why is Walter Anderson's work unknown to many people, you wonder? During his life he was a rather reclusive naturalist and kept most of work hidden from the world. He even had a room at home that was completely off limits to everyone, even his wife.
Despite being ill and escaping from hospitals, Walter continued to paint wonderful watercolors. Regardless of his health and people not liking a mural he did in town, Walter kept painting. Snakebites and hurricanes never kept him from doing what he loved.
It was in 1965, upon the death of Walter Anderson that the scale of his work was recognized. His wife finally went into the room Walter forbade everyone from and walked into a room that was covered in a mural of the flora and fauna of the Gulf Coast. It was in this room that Walter's never before seen watercolors of Horn Island were discovered.
Sadly, Hurricane Katrina decimated a good portion of Anderson's work. However, some of his works survive in museums, some are being restored, and the rest are part of his family's private collection.
I enjoyed reading this chapter book for young readers and being introduced to the biography of an artist I was not familiar with. The color illustrations by E.B. Lewis are themselves works of art. I also enjoyed the examples of Anderson's work as well as the extensive author's note about the artist’s work.

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