The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse — Perfect Picture Book Friday

Title: The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse

Author/Illustrator: Eric Carle

Publisher: New York: Penguin/Philomel, 2011

Genre: Picture book, fiction, homage to artist Franz Marc

Audience Age: 3-9

Themes/Topics: art, artistic freedom, color, nonconformity, joy in art, confidence in creativity

Opening Sentences: I am an artist and I paint… a blue horse and…

Synopsis: This book is a simple celebration of a child’s joy in art, color and creativity. There is no storyline or plot, it simply shows the fantastical colors the child artist uses to paint familiar animals, indicating to the kids who are looking at the book that they don’t need to be constrained by what is “proper” or what is “usually done” in art.

Activities/Resources:

Provide art supplies and give kids free rein to depict whatever they want, with whatever medium and colors strikes their fancy.

Talk about imagination and the fun of seeing and expressing things differently than usual.

TeacherVision has a lesson plan for this book.

Penguin has a link to a pdf teacher’s guide on the “Teachers and Librarians” page.

Incredible @rt Department has a collage activity for kids to experience for themselves the method Eric Carle uses to create his illustrations.

Availability: The book is readily available in hardcover.   It is also available in Spanish.

 

Every Friday, bloggers join together to share picture book reviews and resources, thanks to author Susanna Leonard Hill’s brainchild, “Perfect Picture Book Fridays.” Susanna then adds the books (and links to the reviews) to a comprehensive listing by subject on her blog. Find the entire listing at her “Perfect Picture Books.”

 

36 Comments

  1. I like the creativity this book has. Great choice Beth!

    1. Thanks, Catherine!

  2. This book reminds me of an open-ended question: Ask it and watch the mind work since the answer isn’t a simple yes or no.

    Give a kiddo the open-ended creative moment, that moment to say that yes, a blue horse is wonderful coming from your imagination, then watch the mind work to bend the box, stretch the corners and let the imagination loose.

    1. Oh my. I always love the way you put things, Angela! “bend the box, stretch the corners, and let the imagination loose.” Yes!

  3. I love Eric Carle. I love horses – blue or any other color 🙂 I love the creativity this book embraces and encourages! Thank you for adding this wonderful book to our list! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Susanna! (It occurs to me that there is a color called a blue roan, isn’t there? Not quite the same, but still…)

  4. My artist daughter loves this book, and I love the fact that it encourages and applauds experimentation. Applicable to writing too! 🙂

    1. Thanks Julie. Definitely applicable to writing, too!

  5. I keep wanted to take this out from out library! Thanks for the wonderful review. I’m off to check out those websites 🙂

    1. Thanks, Jennifer! Hope you get to take it out from the library soon!

  6. We haven’t read this one, but recognize the horse from Brown Bear, Brown Bear. I checked out the collage activity. Very fun activities.

    1. Cool that you recognize the horse! The activities are probably a little old for your guy right now, but he’ll soon be there!

  7. I love Eric Carle. In one of my favorite Mr. Rogers episodes, Eric Carle shows Mr. Rogers his process. It was fascinating!

    1. Oh, that Mr. Rogers episode would be incredible!

  8. Eric Carle a favorite in our house. Great selection. Really like the message in this one! Fun activities.

    1. Thanks, Pat. It seemed the perfect book to share after Robin’s interview.

  9. Beth…what a lovely choice for PPBF! I just did a Boys and Girls Club staff workshop on using picture books to build self-esteem and literacy…and one of the things I spoke about was the exposure that picture books give young children to the world of art. 🙂
    Love the resources and activities!

    1. Thanks so much, Vivian — and what a great point to make about picture books.

  10. Wonderful choice. Creative kids will love it. (and aren’t all kids creative?)

    1. Thanks, Darlene. And yes, I think too that all kids have an innate creativity that needs to be fostered and encouraged and fed.

  11. This book kind of has the same meaning of “you can paint your trees purple” saying my mom always says. I would like to see a brown goldfish and a gray (body) and white (snout and ears) pug! 😉 I wonder what is in this book? I will have to check it out 🙂
    Erik

    1. Your Mom is so right! And I know how you can see the brown goldfish and gray (body) and white (snout and ears) pug … get out those markers, Erik!

  12. It sounds like a great book to encourage freedom of expression in kids… unlock hidden creativity…

  13. Love the cover, but then I love horses. Great choice for PPBF. I would love browsing through this myself to look at the artwork. Young kids have so much innocent artistic flair wating to be unleashed.

    1. The artwork in this book is great fun! Unusual colors for animals throughout, and his method of doing his art is very interesting.

  14. We’re huge Eric Carle fans. We don’t have that one, though. It would be a good one to use with kids and art.

    1. It would be very good, indeed. Especially along with the video showing them how to do that type of art.

  15. One of my favorites! The perfect choice! Thanks for adding it to the list, Beth!

    1. Thanks, Loni! I’m not surprised this is one of your favorites!

  16. I love the message of this book. Too many well-meaning parents and teachers use formula art projects, leaving no room for creativity and exploration. It was my oldest son’s biggest complaint about art classes when he went to school. Thanks, Beth!

    1. You’re so right about formula art projects. The “Flowers are red, and green leaves are green” approach. It’s so stifling.

      Thanks, Heather!

  17. This is a good choice for PPBF, Beth. KIds need to know their imaginations are OK. They need to know that what ever they draw or paint is good. It leads to good self esteem and other thinking in life. I like anything by Eric Carle.

    Thanks for this selection and introducing this to the list. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Clar — you are so right.

  18. Wonderful review and wonderful choice. I will have to pick this one up at the library. I know I will love the art!

    1. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy! Thanks, Penny!

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