And the Pursuit of Happiness

“And the Pursuit of Happiness”
Penguin Press, 2010

“First published as an illustrated, 12-part blog in the New York Times, artist-author Kalman’s wonderfully idiosyncratic meditation on democracy is now available in a single volume. Despite its original episodic publication, the book coheres beautifully in terms of both artistic unity and the careful evolution of its overarching theme. Each chapter, beginning with the January inauguration of Barack Obama, an event that was the catalyst for the book, represents a month of Kalman’s yearlong quest, which included visits to both coasts. Thus, the month of February is devoted to her loving celebration of Abraham Lincoln; March to “the essence of democracy, the town meeting”; and so on to December, which concerns George Washington and, finally, a tender and loving evocation of happiness itself. Kalman’s art and its wonderful interaction with her hand-lettered text is every bit as idiosyncratic as her approach to her subject, and the result is an achievement that evokes her widely praised picture books for children. Sprinkled among her art, as always, evocative of Matisse, are photographs, whose realism offers a nice counterpoint to her more stylized drawings. Whether you think of this book as a graphic novel, a picture book, or an album, it is sure to leave you feeling happy about democracy and humanity.”
– Michael Cart, Booklist Magazine, starred review

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