Review Blog

Nov 30 2011

The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle

cover image

Picture Puffin, 2011. ISBN: 9780141340012.
Highly recommended for all ages. Eric Carle's new title is a wonderfully energetic, joyous, vibrant yet simple picture book celebrating colour, creativity and freedom in illustration. The young child artist paints a blue horse, a red crocodile, a yellow cow, a pink rabbit, a green lion, an orange elephant, a purple fox and a black polar bear. With his final creation of a polka-dotted donkey comes his pronouncement, 'I am a good artist' obviously not bound by the constraints of critics, be they parents, teachers or others.
The blurb informs the reader that, as a child Carle lived in Germany, despite having been born in the USA. As a boy, his teacher saw and appreciated the 'freedom and looseness' in Carle's paintings and introduced him to the works of  'degenerate artist', Franz Marc. Apparently it was these early lessons which prompted Carle to break free from the traditional expectations and stereotypes of those who practiced realism. The predominantly white backgrounds and painted, torn or cut pieces of tissue used in the collage leave room for the sparse text with its strong message for the reader. Hopefully, this book will encourage children to express themselves with the freedom Carle is hereby promoting. I will certainly be using this book as a lead in to art lessons in the future.
In Puffin's promotional video for the book, one can listen to the artist as he describes both this story and demonstrates the process used to create his illustrations.
Jo Schenkel

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