Tigers & Tea with Toppy
Tigers & Tea with Toppy
Publisher's Hardcover16.44
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Annotation: Young Rhoda enjoys visiting the American Museum of Natural History, Central Park Zoo, and other places with her beloved grandfather, the famous wildlife artist, Charles R. Knight.
Genre: [Visual arts]
Catalog Number: #170442
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Illustrator: Stephens, Matte,, Knight, Charles Robert,
Pages: 48
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-338-13427-2
ISBN 13: 978-1-338-13427-8
Dewey: 700
LCCN: 2017036199
Dimensions: 32 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Rhoda loves going to the American Museum of Natural History with her grandfather Toppy, but this isn't just your run-of-the-mill grandparent story: Toppy is Charles R. Knight, renowned wildlife illustrator, and Rhoda, his real-life granddaughter, contributes her memories of Toppy, along with a portion of his life story, to this winsomely illustrated picture-book biography. Toppy always loved drawing, and he refused to let his failing eyesight get in the way of his art. His studies of animals at the Central Park Zoo came in particularly handy when he was called upon to imagine what prehistoric creatures might look like based solely on their fossilized skeletons. Stephens' blocky, brightly colored illustrations depict Rhoda and Toppy in a pleasantly naive style, which is a lovely contrast to Toppy's own fine-lined, realistic drawings, which appear periodically. An empowering message about following one's dreams punctuates the story, and an author's note offers more background on Knight's life and work, including additional reproductions of his wildlife drawings. An inviting peek at the life of a lesser-known artist.
Horn Book
This appealing fictionalized biography introduces American wildlife artist Charles R. Knight from his young granddaughter Rhoda's perspective. They meet at the American Museum of Natural History to view his work--some of the first paintings, based only on fossil remains, to depict prehistoric animals--then visit the Central Park Zoo and have tea at the Plaza Hotel. Stephens's playful, quirky gouache illustrations incorporate some of Knight's actual art. Bib.
Kirkus Reviews
Rhoda vividly remembers exciting New York weekends with her grandfather Toppy, the artist Charles R. Knight, who created many of the murals at the American Museum of Natural History.Co-author Kalt—Rhoda herself, now grown up—provides a frame, using their weekend jaunts as an entree into Toppy's life. Toppy was nearly blind but was nevertheless determined to become a wildlife artist, inspired by childhood visits to the American Museum of Natural History. He took art lessons, studied the animals at the Central Park Zoo, and spent hours at the museum's taxidermy department. His first assignment was painting a prehistoric creature, working from a skeleton. He used every skill he had developed and brought all his knowledge of animals to the task. In scenes with little Rhoda, Toppy's impromptu lectures, demonstrations, and expansive invitations provide further insights into his character and artistic achievements. Most important is his gentle insistence that Rhoda follow her own heart in determining her future endeavors. Two voices narrate the tale, in both present and past tenses and across several time periods. It is somewhat awkward, but Kerley maintains a careful balance, and it works. Knight's own lifelike creations appear interspersed with Stephens' bright, clever, and whimsical gouaches on watercolor. Rhoda and Toppy are white. In a note, Stephens tells of his own vision impairment and his admiration for Knight, and an excerpt from Knight's own work is also appended.A loving remembrance of a tender, enduring intergenerational relationship. (authors' notes, sources, photos) (Picture book/memoir. 4-9)
Publishers Weekly
As a girl in New York City, Knight Kalt loved spending weekends with her grandfather Toppy-the legendary artist Charles R. Knight, whose pioneering, dramatic murals of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures captured the public-s imagination. Together, they peruse the displays of his work in the American Museum of Natural History--She feels the magic of traveling to an ancient world,- write Kerley (A Home for Mr. Emerson) and Knight Kalt-and visit the Central Park Zoo, where Toppy-s commentary on tigers and other animals always draws a crowd. Knight Kalt also mingles with interesting people in Toppy and grandmother Nonnie-s apartment; watches her grandfather, his eyesight weak since childhood, daub at his work; and wonders what she will grow to enjoy as much as he loves -drawing and painting animals.- Matching the text-s affection is gouache art by Stephens (Mr. Flux), which conveys how a larger-than-life figure takes shape in a child-s mind-s eye, and incorporates Knight-s actual paintings and drawings. A wealth of detail (including Toppy-s fascinating backstory) is handled with the lightest of touches, and final pages include author notes, source information, and photographs. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3 Rhoda loves to visit her grandparents every weekend. She and her grandfather, Toppy, spend time at their favorite places. At the American Museum of Natural History, Toppy shows Rhoda through the museum where they stop and look at Toppy's paintings. Rhoda's grandfather turns out to be Charles R. Knight, world-renowned wildlife artist. Rhoda loves to listen to him talk about the animals he's studied and painted. He's as good a storyteller as he is a painter. As a boy, Toppy loved to draw and he spent hours learning about animals so he could draw them. Despite poor eyesight that worsened over time, he never gave up on his dream. After their time at the museum, Rhoda and Toppy go back to the house to have dinner with Grandma Nonnie. Toppy works on his book about drawing animals. Even though he can barely see, he continues to pursue the craft he loves so dearly. Combining the talents of Kerley with the experiences of Kalt, along with the art of Stephens and Knight himself, makes for a powerful book. VERDICT Not only is this a story of the tender relationship between a grandfather and granddaughter, it's also a powerful story of following one's dreams and passions, despite life's challenges. A first purchase for most libraries. Heidi Grange, Summit Elementary School, Smithfield, UT
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (10/1/18)
Horn Book (4/1/19)
Kirkus Reviews (8/1/18)
Publishers Weekly (8/1/18)
School Library Journal (8/1/18)
Word Count: 936
Reading Level: 4.3
Interest Level: P-2
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.3 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 199771 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.6 / points:1.0 / quiz:Q75895
Lexile: AD870L

From Barbara Kerley, author of the Caldecott Honor Book The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins, comes an enchanting true story that marks her return to science and natural history!

An NPR Best Book of the YearA Booklist Notable BookA Junior Library Guild Selection* "A powerful story of following one's dreams and passions, despite life's challenges." --School Library Journal, starred reviewRhoda loves spending time with Toppy. He is not only her beloved grandpa, but also the world-famous wildlife artist Charles R. Knight! Every outing with Toppy -- from visits to the American Museum of Natural History and the Central Park Zoo to tea parties at The Plaza Hotel -- is filled with fun and adventure.Lovers of animals, art, natural history, and New York Citywill relish this vivacious and winsomely depicted true story. Presented through Rhodas eyes, it celebrates the enchantment of scientific inquiry, a tender grandparent-grandchild bond, and the vision of a pioneering artist who opened our eyes to the wonders of the ancient world.Included in this book are more than a dozen of Charles R. Knight's original paintings and drawings, interspersed with Matte Stephens's winsome illustrations.

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