George Bellows: Painter with a Punch!

When I saw the title George Bellows: Painter with a Punch! by Robert Burleigh I was curious. Was the book about an artist who was also a boxer? It turns out George Bellows never boxed, but his action-packed paintings do pack quite a wallop!

George Bellows was an artist who painted vibrant scenes of New York City life during the early 1900’s. Young readers are likely to be interested in the fact he was also a gifted athlete as well as artist, playing both baseball and basketball, yet he chose to devote his life to art.

Robert Burleigh’s fast-paced, present-tense narration creates the “you are there” feeling that he says George Bellows also strove to capture in his paintings.

Personally, I was impressed by the depth and variety of his works, and especially the artist’s use of lighting. The reader will find a great deal to study in each one, for example the odd faces in the crowds of the boxing scenes.

The recommended age for this book is 8+, which I think is appropriate given content, such as the graphic nature of the fight scenes and the bleak depictions of poverty.

For the right age groups, George Bellows: Painter with a Punch! would be a fabulous book to use as a jumping off point for an art project. I used to be an Art Masterpiece volunteer, and this would a perfect book to build lessons around. It will also appeal to children interested in history and, to some extent, sports.

Shelf-employed has another review

Reading level: Ages 8 and up
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers (June 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1419701665
ISBN-13: 978-1419701665

Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. We invite you to join us. For more information and a schedule, stop by Booktalking to see who is hosting each week.

This week’s round-up is at Practically Paradise. Be sure to check out her new location.

3 Replies to “George Bellows: Painter with a Punch!”

  1. As you noted (thanks for linking), I reviewed this one, too. I’m not a fan of boxing and somewhat deficient in artistic knowledge, yet this book really wowed me. I think it’s a combination of the history (can you imagine groups of little boys swimming under the George Washington Bridge today?) , the powerful paintings, and the fact that George Bellows seems to have been such a likeable guy.

  2. Lisa,

    I agree that he seemed to be a likeable guy, and Burleigh’s enthusiasm for the topic really shines through.

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