Nature’s Friend: The Gwen Frostic Story
This picture book biography tells the story behind Gwen Frostic’s famous work. A nature artist and early environmentalist from Michigan, she sketched in nature, then created striking prints. Gwen’s beautiful greeting cards and books were well known world-wide. After a debilitating illness as a child, Gwen learned to be persistent and independent—never taking no for an answer. She did not allow stereotypes around disability or age define her, and Gwen defied the low expectations assigned to women of her era.
After creating artwork for famous Detroiters and for display at the World’s Fair and helping to build WWII bombers, Gwen moved her highly successful printmaking business to the wilds of northern Michigan. For most of her 95 years Gwen dedicated her work and her life to opening people’s eyes to the wonder and beauty of our natural world.
(Ages 6-9. Sleeping Bear Press; July 2018)
Author: Lindsey McDivitt
Illustrator: Eileen Ryan Ewen
Available to order:
Booklist — Nature’s Friend: The Gwen Frostic Story
Reviewed on 14 June 2018
Although Gwen Frostic (1906–2001) grew up with physical disabilities, her mother encouraged the girl to become active, strong, and independent. Her artistic talent and her love of nature led her to a career creating decorative brass and copperware until her materials were needed for the war effort in the 1940s. Then she designed tools for the aircraft industry by day and made linoleum prints at night. Later she moved to “the top of Michigan’s mitten,” where she created, printed, and sold greeting cards celebrating nature. Appended to this upbeat picture-book biography is further information about the artist and a list of materials and instructions for making drawings or prints from natural objects. The text describes Frostic’s life effectively and relates her work to the twentieth-century environmental movement. Brightly colored line-and-wash paintings illustrate the book, setting a cheerful tone. While no photos of Frostic’s more muted prints appear in the book, one illustration includes parts of several representative pictures. Recommended for larger collections and those where the artist’s work is well-known.