The Artist Who Paints Images From Authors' Words

Wendell Minor: Art for the Written Word

Twenty-Five Years of Book Cover Art

Introduction by David McCullough

Harcourt Brace & Co.

154 pp., $30

(Illustrated index)

Yes, there are pages of beautifully reproduced color illustrations - many of them approach the level of fine art - and yes, there are the obligatory essays and interviews among artist, editor, and art director - mutually congratulatory, of course.

But the stellar treasure in this lovely book is in the blurbs that accompany many of the book-jacket designs: blurbs by the authors of the books being illustrated.

Again and again we read something like the following: "He took the words of the book and he painted them." And, "I was lucky to have, my first time out, an artist who not only read my book, but read my mind."

Also, "I write for a thousand pages and Wendell shows me what I mean in a single image.... I build the church; he makes the stained glass windows."

A ho-hum response to this book - "oh, book covers, that's nice" - becomes impossible as these monologues build into a psalm of delight for all the wonderful stories represented here, and this one artist's wonderful talent at translating them into canvas and pigment.

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