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Kindergarten-Grade 5-Juan Quezada is one of the best-known potters in Mexico. Using only natural materials to form and paint his pots, he is responsible for creating a vibrant folk-art economy in his small town of Mata Ortiz. This unusual book is set up to allow for differing levels of reading expertise, presenting information about Quezada in such a way that it can be read as a story or as an informational book, part biography, part fine-arts discussion. One page contains a catchy cumulative rhyme modelled on "This Is the House That Jack Built," which outlines the process of making a pot. The facing page offers a clearly written prose presentation, laying out the story of the potter's life and his method of constructing pots in the classic style of the Casas Grandes Indians. Diaz's arresting illustrations, rendered in Adobe Photoshop, use yellows, oranges, and reds in a layered effect that seems to glow with an inward light. The use of stylized forms-all of the people with a full-face front eye in the manner of ancient Egyptian art-adds a sense of gravitas and historical continuity to the artwork. An afterword gives a more in-depth treatment of Quezada's life and work, and is illustrated with small inset colour photographs. This is a must purchase for all collections, and could be used with Diana Cohn's Dream Carver (Chronicle, 2002) for a look at how both art and economies of scale can work to enrich our lives and to build community.
Ann Welton, Grant Elementary School, Tacoma, WA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.