Review: Magic Trash by Jane Shapiro

magic trash

Magic Trash: A Story of Tyree Guyton and His Art by J. H. Shapiro, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton

This is the life story of Tyree Guyton.  Tyree grew up in Detroit in a large family.  He was always picking up stray objects and creating things with them.  At age nine, Tyree decided he wanted to be an artist.  But as the years passed, he worked many jobs, none of them artistic.  When he returned back home, his street has changed from a bustling neighborhood into a stretch of dilapidated  houses.  So Tyree went to work, painting everything he could find.  Houses got polka dots, bright colors were everywhere, found objects were incorporated.  But not everyone loved Tyree’s work, they considered it garbage.  Houses were knocked down by the city, until finally after years, Tyree’s art was safe.  This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Heidelberg Project, certainly something to celebrate!

Shapiro has written this book with a sparkle and jazz that suits the subject.  Her storytelling is impressive as she creates moods that change from one page to the next as the story progresses.  She weaves in rhyming lines at times, adding to the distinctive feel of her words.

Brantley-Newton’s art is done in mixed media, incorporating found objects, torn pages filled with words, painting, pattern and texture.  Her art is bright, beautiful and vibrant.  Against the distinctive backgrounds, her characters stand out with great charm.

A look at street art that is part of the street, this book will be enjoyed by art teachers and budding young artists alike.  Appropriate for ages 6-9.

Reviewed from copy received from Charlesbridge.

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