Thursday, October 8, 2009

A is for Art by Stephen T. Johnson

The book jumped off the library shelf! With a candy collage of brightly-colored gum balls, Smarties, and Double Bubble on the cover, it caught my children's attention. As I paged through the clever find before approving it for the library bag, I marveled over the creative use of abstract art.

Every letter of the alphabet is assigned a page, in alphabetical order of course. The page is a piece of abstract art described with alliteration. For example, the letter B is hidden on the "B" page entitled Blueberry Blues. The caption reads "Beside the bisected, black, bumpy bicycle tire, a bunch of busy burgundy brushstrokes blurs into a blue background with a broken bowl below at the bottom." Amazing use of "B" adjectives! Author/illustrator Stephen Johnson gives the reader examples of abstract art described with words that set the mind in motion. Inspiring!

Children find this art particularly intriguing as they feel sure they can produce an eye-pleasing piece. To young children, this art is doable, created with everyday items. In fact, young readers may decide to make their own abstract alphabet book. Not a bad idea.

For readers interested in checking out other Stephen Johnson books, look for:
  • Alphabet City
  • City by Numbers
  • My Little Red Toolbox
and others. Read about them at

For information about Stephen T. Johnson, visit
He has private and permanent collections including the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D. C. and a mosaic mural in the DeKalb Avenue subway station in Brooklyn, New York.

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