Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

Sonderbooks Stand-out 2005
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****Unlikely Pairs

Fun with Famous Works of Art

by Bob Raczka

Reviewed December 11, 2005.
Millbrook Press, Minneapolis, 2005.  32 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (J 750.11 RAC).
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2005 (#1, Children's Nonfiction)

This is one of those picture books that came in and got me laughing hard in the office.  Then I brought it out and made all my co-workers read it, then brought it home for my family to see.  This is a fun and completely unusual way to look at art.

Bob Raczka took 26 paintings and paired them up into 13 “unlikely pairs.”  As he says in the introduction, “I call them unlikely because the works in each pair were either done by artists from completely different eras, or they were done in completely different styles.  Seeing them together in an exhibit would be highly unlikely!

“As you’ll see, when you look at two very different pieces of art as a pair, your mind automatically starts making connections between them.  Each pair seems to tell a funny story, and it’s up to you to figure out what that story is.”

As an example, there’s a painting of a sailboat on one side, then a pop art painting of a spray can on the other side, so it immediately looks like the spray can is propelling the sailboat.  I won’t tell any more, because it’s too delightful to figure them out for yourself.

This book is great on several levels.  First, it’s funny—it will give you a good laugh.  But it also acquaints you with different artists and styles of art.  And it challenges your mind, getting you to look at the paintings in a completely new way.  The next time I go to an art gallery, I’m sure I’ll be on the lookout for some unlikely pairs.

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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