By: Adam Sutherland
Publisher: Lerner Publications
Publication Date: March 2012
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: March 2012
Almost every teen knows what's hot and what's not, but few would dispute the fact that Kat Von D is hot. Born Katherine Von Drachenberg, Kat always had a knack for drawing. Her father was a doctor and although Kat wanted to follow in his footsteps, "he encouraged her to pursue her talent and make a living out of art instead." Rather than go the traditional route, Kat eventually ended up as a renowned tattooist using the human body as her canvas. Kat Von D is the ultimate in cool and you'll read all about her in this book.
Body decoration is definitely nothing new and if you simply walk through the mall you'll see several different examples of it. You'll probably be able to spot colorful nail art, those with a flair for enhancing "their hair in dramatic ways," body piercing, people wearing makeup, and, like the Kat, people sporting tattoos. Do you know what skinheads, sleeves, cornrows, and nail bars are? You will after you read this book. Body decoration is nothing new and "has been around as long as the human race." You'll take a brief tour and will note that the "stained skin" has been in use "for more than 5,000 years" and that earrings were found in an Iraqi grave that were from 2500 B.C.
Makeup didn't start with the likes of Max Factor, but in fact was used by the ancient Egyptians. You will take a swing through time and will be able to check out people who used them, including some who died because of it. Of course you can't forget about the hair and ink. Shaved, cornrows, Mohawks, dreadlocks, piercing, stretching, and the people who use these body decorations will amaze you. Ever checked out a Maori warrior's facial tattoos or a Kayapo's massive lip disc? You will. You'll also learn some body talk lingo, read the arguments for and against body decorations, meet Orla Zusman (nail artist), learn to make nail flowers and earrings, read about Ed Hardy, and learn some record breaking facts.
The wild and vibrant layout of this book will have high appeal to the young reader. There are areas of straight text, but there are sidebars full of factual material that are placed in such a manner that gives this book a lot of pizzazz. The book is generously illustrated with full-color photographs of people sporting body decorations that will wow the reader. The mini-bio of Kat Von D will be of high interest. This book definitely has the flair that people with an interest in body decoration will enjoy. In the back of the book is an index, and additional recommended book and website resources to explore.
Quill says: This is a marvelous overview of the history and culture of body decoration.