Breaking Waves: Winslow Homer Paints the Sea

Holiday House/Neal Porter. Jun. 2021. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823447022.
Gr 3-6–This stunning work of literary nonfiction follows a year in the life and process of American painter Winslow Homer (1836–1910). The pacing of this book centers on the four seasons, beginning with winter, and describes how the sea and Homer shift and change through the year. Homer paints and paints, trying to capture the essence and movement of the sea, often coming close, but persevering nonetheless. Each season begins with a bold, poetic stanza which introduces the ideas and feelings the next section will evoke. The watercolor and pencil illustrations are beautiful and capture the different feelings the sea can conjure. The images are at times calm and peaceful and at times thrilling and dangerous. These illustrations are reason enough to add this book to collections but, in addition to the gorgeous visuals, this work is rich with sensory language. These details both enhance the experience of reading the book and can be applied and analyzed in language arts instruction of sensory language. Back matter includes photographs of Homer and his work as well as maps and more traditional biographical information.
VERDICT A beautiful and rich work of literary nonfiction.

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