Michael O. Tunnell The Joke's on George

ISBN 13: 9780688117580

The Joke's on George

4.11 avg rating
( 19 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780688117580: The Joke's on George

Briefly surveys the life of the early American portrait painter and describes an incident in which George Washington, visiting his natural history museum, was fooled by a lifelike painting of two of Peale's sons climbing a staircase.

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From Publishers Weekly:

George Washington falls victim to a sophisticated practical joke in this heavily embroidered historical anecdote. In Tunnell's telling, a presidential visit to painter and naturalist Charles Willson Peale's natural history museum brackets a lengthy digression about Peale and his family. Touring the museum, the ever-polite George bows, he thinks, to two of Peale's sons as they ascend the stairs. But "what George was looking at was the most incredible painting Mr. Peale would ever do . . . A wooden step extended the painted stairway out into the room. It was an illusion and a colossal joke!" Tunnell ( Chinook! ) recruits yet another of Peale's 17 offspring as the text's chatty narrator; though humorous, the author's exclamatory style is sometimes strained. Osborn's ( Upon a Princess and a Pea ) colorful paintings similarly stress surface appeal over historical accuracy, for example, omitting cages for Peale's animals and inventing cubist canvases to fill Peale's studio. Poking fun at the first president may help interest children in Peale, but Barbara Morrow's less flashy Help for Mr. Peale handles period detail more carefully. Ages 5-up.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews:

...Washington, that is, in a delightful vignette narrated by Rembrandt Peale--in whose father's remarkable museum the incident took place and on whose memoirs this account is based. Neatly setting the scene for the president's visit to view some wax figures, Peale notes Washington's punctilious courtesy in bowing ``to common servants and fine gentlemen alike'' and describes Charles Willson Peale's museum, unique--especially in its time-- as a mix of natural history exhibits and artifacts, particularly Peale's own paintings. In the context, readers won't be as startled as George is when two young Peales fail to return his greeting, but there's another surprise in store: the boys aren't waxworks but a trompe l'oeil painting so lifelike that it even fools the dogs. New Yorker artist Osborn makes a fine picture- book debut here. Her stylized art has a naive flavor, appropriately echoing Peale's paintings; its strong designs, crisp images, and decorative colors are spiced with a sly wit that wonderfully complements Tunnell's nicely understated text. A handsome, entertaining glimpse of times past. (Picture book. 5-9) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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