Janey Olsen, Famous Artist of the Beach
by H.C. Friesen
Janey Olsen, Famous Artist of the Beach is our choice for the “It Looks Like a Million” Book Award. The book has a fresh, cohesive look. Title, cover (including the notes on the back cover), chapter headings, illustrations, and lessons on how to use watercolor pencils all present a story of the growth of a young artist. The illustrations of author/illustrator H.C. Friesen flow with the plot and highlight the setting, i.e., a beach (with yellow beach house) and surrounding points of interest in North Carolina’s Outer Banks. The original paintings of the 9 to 10-year old Grace Baity track the artistic growth of 9 to 10-year old Janey Olsen. The layout integrates text and illustrations smoothly. The typeface is easy to read. The watery blue endpapers reflect the setting. A simple family tree of the main characters, a map of the Outer Banks, a pronunciation guide, and “How to” advice from Janey herself provide appropriate resources for young readers. Overall, the book has the feel of a children’s book that takes children’s talents seriously.
2022 “It Looks Like a Million” Book Judges