The East-West House

By School Library Journal

Isamu Noguchi was a prolific and influential artist whose creative interests ranged beyond sculpture and into scenic and landscape design, architecture, furniture, and art education. This book uses spare writing and textured collage to depict his life as a boy of mixed Japanese and American heritage living in Japan. Hale includes the fact that his mother was abandoned by his father before Noguchi was even born and makes the case that his isolation and difference as a child contributed to his appreciation of the natural world, which in turn informed his work throughout his long career. The mixed-media collage illustrations reflect the blend of East and West that runs throughout the book—block printing, rice paper, and Japanese printed paper are integrated with Western-style drawings of faces and other details. Thoroughly documented and heavily reliant on primary sources, the book includes a lengthy afterword about Noguchi’s adult life, complete with photographs of his family and his work. An original and thought-provoking addition to biography or art collections.