Cover image for Dazzle ships : World War I and the art of confusion
Title:
Dazzle ships : World War I and the art of confusion

World War I and the art of confusion
Title:
Dazzle ships : World War I and the art of confusion
Personal Author:
Publisher Info:
Minnneapolis, MN : Millbrook Press, a division of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc., [2017]
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Abstract:
"During World War I, British and American ships were painted with bold colors and crazy patterns from bow to stern. Why would anyone put such eye-catching designs on ships? Desperate to protect ships from German torpedo attacks, British lieutenant-commander Norman Wilkinson proposed what became known as dazzle. These stunning patterns and colors were meant to confuse the enemy about a ship's speed and direction. By the end of the war, more than four thousand ships had been painted with these mesmerizing designs."-- Provided by publisher.
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JUV 940.459 BART New or Popluar Book Juv Nonfiction
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Summary

Summary

A visually stunning look at innovative and eye-popping measures used to protect ships during World War I.
During World War I, British and American ships were painted with bold colors and crazy patterns from bow to stern. Why would anyone put such eye-catching designs on ships?
Desperate to protect ships from German torpedo attacks, British lieutenant-commander Norman Wilkinson proposed what became known as dazzle. These stunning patterns and colors were meant to confuse the enemy about a ship's speed and direction. By the end of the war, more than four thousand ships had been painted with these mesmerizing designs.
Author Chris Barton and illustrator Victo Ngai vividly bring to life this little-known story of how the unlikely and the improbable became just plain dazzling.


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Dazzling in their own right, newcomer Ngai's illustrations strikingly depict the dazzle ships of WWI, more than 4,000 British and U.S. merchant and warships that were painted with wild colors and patterns. These "dazzle" designs, explains Barton (88 Instruments), "were supposed to confuse German submarine crews about the ships' direction and speed" and keep them safer from torpedo fire. Ngai runs with the camouflage theme in energetic scenes that are crisscrossed with geometric and organic patterns and lines: in one spread, the uniform jacket of British naval officer Norman Wilkinson, who proposed the dazzle painting idea, is masked by the curvilinear patterns and hues of the ocean waves in the background. "Sometimes desperate times call for dazzling measures," writes Barton in conclusion, underscoring the importance of creative problem solving. Reflective author and artist notes, a timeline with b&w photographs, and a reading list wrap up a conversational, compelling, and visually arresting story that coincides with the 100th anniversary of its subject. Ages 7-11. Author's agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrator's agent: Gail Gaynin, Morgan Gaynin. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

It might seem counterintuitive to paint bold, eye-catching patterns on ships aiming to pass safely through U-boat-infested waters, but as Barton and Ngai's informative picture book demonstrates, that unconventional choice was a daring stroke of genius. During WWI, Britain's warships were routinely targeted by German U-boats, and the Royal Navy was desperate for a way to avoid Germany's attacks. Norman Wilkinson's groundbreaking patterns not quite camouflage, but painting the ships in a way that makes their movements hard to detect fooled even the most experienced sailors, and the navy employed cadres of art students to design more dazzles. Ngai's swirling, art nouveau-style illustrations replicate some of the bold shapes and designs on the so-called dazzle ships, and the soft colors and stylized figures nicely soften the wartime theme and focus attention to the vessels. Barton adds plenty of historical context, illuminating other naval defense schemes of the period, as well as the role of women in creating dazzle patterns. An author's note, time line, and photos of the ships round out this inspiring story of creativity.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2017 Booklist


School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-6-During World War I, German U-boats attacked British commercial shipping and military vessels, which threatened to cause starvation in Britain. How could this new danger be thwarted? Artist Norman Wilkinson came up with a unique idea-to camouflage ships by painting them in erratic, wild, and uneven designs. The goal was to confuse and befuddle U-boat periscopes as to the speed and direction of their target by breaking up the ship's profile. Before the war was over, several thousand ships from the United States and Great Britain were painted, or "dazzled," in colorful patterns. This part of the war is thoughtfully presented, adapted from Chris Barton's 2017 picture book. Victo Ngai's illustrations are closely scanned and sometimes simply animated as Johnny Heller narrates the text set to taut, compelling music and appropriate sound effects. The disc includes a feature on the contribution of women artists who designed many of the patterns used, a time line of the war, and author and illustrator notes that expand on the role of art in our lives. VERDICT This extraordinary, fascinating look into a little-known historical event has multiple curriculum connections, from history to art. It would be a valuable addition to any collection and inspire viewers to do further research.-Teresa Bateman, Brigadoon Elementary, Federal Way, WA © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.