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City by Numbers


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About the Author

Stephen T. Johnson is a highly versatile American artist whose art spans a broad range of concepts, contexts and mediums including painting, collage, drawing, sculpture and installations and can be seen in museum and gallery exhibitions, public art commissions, and through his original award-winning children's books.

Much of Johnson's work is characterized by an interest in the alphabet and language, which began with his book Alphabet City, a Caldecott Honor and New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year. His most recent engagement with the alphabet is his ongoing series of "literal abstractions" which are the subject of his book A is for Art: An Abstract Alphabet, also a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year, and featured in several solo museum and gallery exhibitions.

Johnson's drawings and paintings are in numerous private and permanent collections, including the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. and the New Britain Museum of Art, Connecticut. Solo exhibitions of his work have been featured at the Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Rochester, New York; the Katonah Museum of Art, New York; and the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas.

Among his public art is a large mosaic mural at the DeKalb Avenue subway station in Brooklyn, New York and a 58-foot long mural at the Universal City Metro Station in North Hollywood, California.

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K-Gr 5‘In this companion volume to Alphabet City (Viking, 1995), Johnson's photo-realistic paintings show the numbers from 1 to 21 in city details. Since these are paintings, the artist is able to tweak the scenes a bit; the number two is made by flakes of peeling paint, for example. Sometimes the numerals are hard to discern, as in the case of the 10, made of wavery reflections in a glass building, or the 21, created from lighted windows in a skyscraper. Tana Hoban's Count and See (Macmillan, 1972) has black-and-white photos of city scenes, but shows numbers of objects rather than numerals, as here. Bruce McMillan's Fire Engine Shapes (Lothrop, 1988; o.p.) provides shapes rather than numerals to discover, but uses color photographs of a subject with proven child appeal, as well as including children in his illustrations. Johnson's images are fascinating and make this book interesting to older children.‘Pam Gosner, formerly at Maplewood Memorial Library, NJ

"Johnson's images are fascinating." -School Library Journal

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