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The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse Hardcover – 6 Oct 2011
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About the Author
Eric Carle is an internationally bestselling and award-winning author and illustrator of books for very young children including his most well-known title The Very Hungry Caterpillar. With his late wife, Barbara, Eric Carle co-founded The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Massachusetts in 2002.
Eric Carle divides his time between the Florida Keys and the hills of North Carolina.
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When I shared this with a group, we started just making all the animal sounds, but it wasn't long before the kids caught on to the fact that these animals weren't the right colors, and that's when smiles broke out all around. When we arrived at the black polar bear, some kids were confused and it gave us a good chance to talk about art and the freedom to make things whatever color you want. By the time we arrived at the polka dotted donkey, I heard chuckles and I hope maybe a few parents went home to encourage their young artists to make their own polka dotted animals.
The very idea of this book celebrates joyous, free expression and I would recommend it for any story time audience of toddlers or young preschoolers. It goes far in giving youngsters permission to think outside of the box, all done in a way that makes perfect sense to them. Try this book out for your story time group and watch their eyes light up with the possibilities. This is also an excellent choice for any young family wishing to encourage creativity and free thinking. I can't think of a better literary first step.
Having discovered Eric Carle only in my early 30s, as a newly born reader, with access to world class titles, I loved the simplicity of his books. I loved the serious messages that were enveloped in amazing artwork using words that were instantly recognisable and repeatable for young kids.
I don't think I have ever met a child who hasn't read The Hungry Caterpillar or the Mixed-up Chameleon. Reading his famous titles aloud, you see a pattern - a pattern of serious, thoughtful messages made very simple for young readers, perhaps even readers who can only listen.
So when I ordered "The Artist who painted a Blue Horse" - I wasn't sure what to expect. Okay, I expected a blue horse. But what was it about? I tend not to read reviews of picture books before I buy them - because I want to discover the book and their meanings myself.
As an adult, you can read this book standing by the door, when the postman drops it off. In 11 spreads and less than 50 words, Eric Carle has opened up the horizons for every young artist. Without saying anything in so many words, he has shown the children of today and artists of tomorrow that there is nothing right or wrong about art. Art is what you want it to be - an expression of your own inner thoughts, ideas and maybe suggestions to the world. Unconventional art and radical science becomes commonplace as years go by.
If you are reading to a young child, you have the opportunity not to point out the right colours for the animals. Instead, allow them to come up with more ridiculous combinations. The brushes have been unshackled, the palette has been freed from its colour-dips. Mix them up, make new colours, paint the world in a colour that has no names.
If you are buying this for a child that can read on its own, it would be a delight to explain that artists have no rules and boundaries. Perhaps I'd even buy it for a kid that cannot draw or paint and wants to write or sing. Show them the world beyond convention.
As a picture book writer myself, I salute the master. Not for the colours, or the simple drawings, which I do appreciate. And not just for the message he has put into this book. I salute him for making such a huge statement, a declaration of independence for young creators, in such a simple way.
Go buy the book. It is worth the experience of freedom.
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Lovely bright colourful book