School Library Journal
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Gr 3-8-Brightly colored, appealing reproductions of collages form the basis of Albert's introduction to his own artistic journey and of his passion for promoting the use of recycled materials in art. He explains his Pop Art creations: his patriotic collages, his Pop Cubist portraits of classic American brands, and his "epic works" based mostly on patriotic or biblical concepts. His recurring themes are the overwhelming presence of consumerism in our society and the power of words. Readers will be drawn to the familiar labels and images from well-known products-cereals, soups, candy, sodas-and his arrangement of them into new images will be intriguing, especially for those who appreciate the intricacy of interwoven colors and ideas. Some of the pieces are sure to encourage young artists to experiment with these readily available and inexpensive materials. Indeed, the final page lists the seven simple tools needed to make Albert-style collages. However, one cannot help but notice his self-promotion-mentioning the "Sir Real" organic juice products that he makes and distributes, as well as pitching his availability to give workshops on his artistic methods. Much of what he does is quite clever-the Washington and Lincoln portraits made from money, for instance-and several works, such as his "Judgement (sic) Day" and "You Know What They Say" collages, will send "Where's Waldo"-type fans on an adventure as they search for the hidden words and sayings. While not an essential purchase, this could be a worthwhile addition to illustrate a present-day approach to Pop Art.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Like a gallery show, pop artist Albert's first book immerses readers in his striking collages, which are constructed mostly from instantly recognizable materials like Cheerios boxes, KFC buckets and the like. The power of the art derives partially from the instant recognition of these items--viewers cannot help identifying these logos, no matter how elaborately they are reorganized or obscured. But Albert also puts his technique to political and social purposes: Ronald McDonald, Snap, Crackle and Pop, and Mr. Peanut are among the hundreds of characters in an elaborate Last Judgment; 56 icons, from Charlie Brown to Mr. Clean, represent the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Most spreads pair one or two works with an artist's statement, while the last pages explain Albert's process step by step, encouraging readers to make their own collages. Characters created for the author's Sir Real line of organic fruit juices (and a lengthy description of the company) appear as well, mostly in context; a photo of Sir Real juices on store shelves, however, crosses into product placement. Ages 7-up. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved