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Thursday, August 04, 2005

Book of the Week

Haven't I seen this title used somewhere else?It's been exactly six weeks since I did a book of the week post. We need to be a little more consistent here, don't we?

This week's book arrived yesterday as a gift for the kid from a critic friend. (Yes, she's the same one who doesn't read the blog and who took home the Keith Haring radiant baby bib in exchange, none the wiser for my previous post.)

Action Jackson, by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan with illustrations by Robert Andrew Parker, is a children's book that attempts to debunk the assumption that you, generic five-year-old hell raiser, can make one of these things for yourself at home.

The book traces Pollock's process for creating Number One (Lavender Mist) from 1950. If nothing else, the book serves as a nice antidote to Ian Falconer's new classic Olivia with its precocious piglet heroine who asserts "I could do that in about five minutes" while viewing Pollock's Autumn River (Number 30) at the Met. (Note to parents: it's now going to take your kid more than being able to pick out a Pollock to get into Dalton.)

But as interesting as this book is, there are a few things missing. Where is the drinking, the fighting, the pissing in Peggy Guggenheim's fireplace, and all the other general bad behavior--not to mention the car wreck and all that? That's the stuff the kids really want to hear about. Maybe they would have more respect for the man and his work if the life weren't quite so bowdlerized in this treatment.



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