My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Note: Advance Reader’s Edition | Book Releases February 2018
This book is based on the childhood of Joseph Cornell and the wonder that is his collection of things. Candace Fleming provides a note at the start of the book that offers a brief bio with nuggets of details about some of the artist’s objects, including photos that date back as far as 1945. Here we learn that Joseph referred to his own collection as, “a diary journal, picture gallery, museum, and clearing house for dreams and visions.”
It is that last reference that resonated with me…”a clearing house for dreams and visions.” What a powerful declaration. I had never thought about collected items in this way. Yes, there is sentimental value and memories that are attached to the things we treasure and hold onto as a remembrance of what once was, but this perspective of “dreams and visions” speaks to a future hope.
I am thankful for this perspective for two reasons. The first being that my children collect things that on the surface might just look like random “stuff,” maybe there’s something more there to explore? On the one hand, I am hard-pressed to believe that my son’s collection of my dishes in his room means anything more than he’s being lazy. On the other hand, my daughter has a collection of objects that she saves for just the right project as she re-purposes them into a new creation.
The second reason I can appreciate the “dreams and visions” point of view is because it speaks to what good might come out of those things that I like to collect. I have years worth of notebooks of my reading and writing life. I collect and use what I feel are special notebooks and pens. This Christmas in fact, I received a very special pen from my husband with my name engraved in it and my birthstone nestled at its crest. He is one who’s encouraged me to write. For now, I write about my reading but I do dream of writing my own work so I use blogging to help me stay in the habit and to have my very own collection of my thoughts on the books I read and enjoyed.
What a long intro to the part where I actually review the book. Please forgive me as I got caught up in my thoughts just from the Author’s Note alone. I really enjoyed The Amazing Collection of Joey Cornell. I think it gives the reader permission to be passionate about their interests. As we follow Joey’s childhood we can see the growth of his collection, its purpose, and its wonder. His “trinkets” and “doodads” become a thing of beauty-art.
Gerard Dubois’ illustrations were rendered in acrylic on paper and manipulated digitally. They pair well with the text and speak to the era depicted (the early 20th century) in soft and warm tones akin to sepia.
I look forward to sharing this gem with my students.
The Amazing Collection of Joey Cornell: Based on the Childhood of a Great American Artist
Candace Fleming | http://www.candacefleming.com/
Gerard Dubois | http://www.gdubois.com/
Random House | http://rhcbooks.com/
Schwartz & Wade Books | https://penguinrandomhouse.ca/imprints/schwartz-wade
Book Excursion | PLN Group of Rockstar Reading Educators| #BookExcursion