Hester Bass and illustrator E.B. Lewis have brought us a book about a very special man that most of us readers have probably never heard of, though I certainly am left wanting to know more about.
" There once was an artist who braved storms, mosquitoes, alligators, and more to speak the language of nature in pencil and paint. His name was Walter Anderson.
Residents along the Mississippi Gulf Coast thought he was odd, pedaling his rickety bicycle in his rumpled clothes and his ragged hat. They thought it strange that he rowed across twelve miles of open water in a a leaky skiff to reach Horn, an uninhabited island swarming with gnats and flies and with no running water or electricity.
But Walter didn't care what anybody thought. he spent weeks at a time on Horn Island, his personal paradise, sleeping under his boat, sometimes eating whatever washed ashore. Here was the place he most wanted to be in the world, sketching and painting the natural surroundings and the animals that became his friends. Here Walter Anderson could fully breathe, and here he created some of his most brilliant watercolors, work that he kept hidden during his lifetime."
I was really impressed with the depth of such a short biography, especially when written for children. The illustrations are magnificent, done in beautiful beachy colors, perfectly accompanying the text and allowing the reader to see some of what Anderson felt when he looked at Horn Island.
The author's note at the end is several pages long and goes into more detail as to what illnesses Anderson suffered from, what his art looked like, and different aspects of his life, making the book appealing to both younger children and older kids. This would be a great asset to any library collection and would make a nice piece to use for a report on a man that many do not know much about.
To learn more, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon.
The Secret World of Walter Anderson