One of my favorite picture books, The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds will strike a chord with children, teens and adults who lack confidence in their ability to ‘make art.’ Vashti doesn’t believe she can draw or does not want to draw. She sits through an entire art class but does not make a mark on her sheet of paper. Vashti’s teacher is understanding and she encourage’s Vashti,
“Just make a mark and see where it takes you.”
Vashti grabbed a marker and gave the paper a good, strong jab. “There!”
Undeterred by Vashti’s reluctance, her teacher asks her to sign the page. She does sign the paper and leaves the classroom. When she returns a week later, her ‘artwork’ has been framed and is hanging near to her teacher’s desk. Upon reflection, Vashti decides that she is quite capable of improving on her first dot.
Before long, she is confidently experimenting with watercolors and larger sheets of paper. She creates an entire collection of artistic dots – every size and color.
A wonderful resource for children and adults who are reluctant to “make their mark.” The Dot and Mr. Reynold’s inspiring illustrations should not be missed.
Art’s Supplies written and illustrated by Chris Tougas Picture book about artist supplies published by Orca Book Publishers
Clever, funny and inspiring, Art’s Supplies is exactly the sort of picture book I delight in.
Trouble is just around the corner when Art’s paper invites everyone for a party at her “pad.” It doesn’t take long for the pencils to arrive. They are soon joined by crayons, markers, pastels, ink and many more colourful and creative guests.
“Next the crayons rolled in with some fun ideas.
Those guys sure know how to think outside the box.
The markers all agreed that they FELT great.
Then the pastels arrived. They blended in smoothly.”
With lots of bold visual appeal, enough puns to make you grown aloud and clever wordplay, the story and illustrations will be enjoyed by children, especially those who love to make art, aged 4 and up.
Art’s Supplies was honored with the following picture book awards –
2010 Chocolate Lily nominee
2009 Canadian Children’s Book Centre Best Books
2008 Resource Links “The Year’s Best”
Mr. Gauguin’s Heart written by Marie-Danielle Croteau, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault and translated by Susan Ouriou
This thought-provoking picture book introduces a young Paul Gauguin. As a child, he sails with his family from Denmark to Peru. While onboard ship, his father dies and Paul feels lost. He does not mourn like his mother and sister do. He watches as the giant sun sinks below the horizon and imagines his father’s heart. When his ship arrives in Peru, Paul, with the help of an elderly man, discovers that one can bring things to life with a paintbrush.
Best suited to children aged 6 to 9, Mr. Gauguin’s Heart in an insightful and reflective look at grief and passion.
When it comes to rhyming picture books, I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! is a masterpiece
I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s and I remember, with great fondness, listening to my dad play the piano. It was one of his favourite leisure activities and we’d often sing along. One of the tunes he played was It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More.
I suppose my nostalgia is part of my joy in discovering I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More, written by Karen Beaumont and illustrated by David Catrow. Without hesitation, it makes my Top Ten list for preschool-aged children. It might even make my Top Five list.
With delightful, exuberant illustrations and equally fun text, you and your child will thoroughly enjoy this irresistible romp. Watch and sing along as a young child paints himself (and much of his home) from top to bottom.
If you’re not familiar with the tune, follow the link (above).
So I take some red
and I paint my…
Now I ain’t gonna paint no more.
Aw, what the heck!
Gonna paint my…
Now I ain’t gonna paint no more.
The bonus with this terrific rhyming picture book is the wordplay; your youngster will be thinking of rhymes and anticipating the next word with no effort at all – just do yourself a favor and hide the paints and brushes in case your child is “inspired” to do a little painting herself!
Helping your child to gain phonemic awareness and preparing for formal reading instruction has never been more fun!
In this picture book about friendship, Happy and engaging illustrations invite us to watch as a friends work together to transform a drab birdhouse into a bright and inviting home. When the work is done, they joyfully play music together and manage to endure the highs and lows that life brings.
The world is an exciting place, with ups, downs, around and arounds, and far-far-aways. But the most exciting place in my world is with… you.
Well-suited to very young children, You is a picture book about friendship and love. It would be a great story to share before a parent or friend leaves on a trip.
Be sure to visit the author’s website (link above) and read about Stephen Michael King’s experience as a hearing impaired child and his path to becoming an author-illustrator.
The Paint Box – written by Maxine Trottier and illustrated by Stella East
Set in Venice, The Paint Box is the story of Marietta and her friend Piero. Both children are fascinated with creating art. Because she is a girl, Marietta must disguise herself when she works with her father and studies to be a painter. Piero is a slave, who longs to return to his family and freedom. He shares Marietta’s love of art. Beautifully illustrated and written, this picture book provides insight into Renaissance life and will surely inspire young artists.
32 pages, Ages 6+
Shortlisted by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre for their Our Choice Award in 2005
Hands – Growing Up to Be an Artist written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert
You are likely familiar with Ms. Ehlert’s creativity and her many wonderful books for children. She is a consistently inspiring and innovative illustrator In Hands: Growing up to Be an Artist she has an important message for children and adults. She hopes we will all have opportunities to be creative and she strives to inspire us.
Hands shows us the tools mom and dad use in the workshop, the sewing room, and the garden. With these tools and imagination a birdhouse, cat toys and a vegetable garden are created. The youngster in this vibrant story is inspired and encouraged when presented with a special place to work – a folding table next to the sewing machine. Children and adults will enjoy exploring this book and will be inspired by the cheery collage illustrations that are use to lead to more creativity.
Best for children aged four and up. Hands: Growing up to Be an Artist at Amazon.com
People often ask me to recommend a chapter book to share with young children. Often they have made the transition from picture books to chapter books and find themselves overwhelmed by the selection of books on the shelf. This month I want to wholeheartedly recommend Masterpiece. It tells the story of a very unusual friendship that develops between James Pompaday and a beetle named Martin who lives under the kitchen sink in his apartment. When James’ father gives him a pen and ink set for his birthday, it is Martin who creates an astonishingly good miniature picture. James is credited with artistic talent and before long James and Martin are working together as they attempt to thwart an art thief.
Highly recommended as a chapter book read aloud and/or for children (grade four +) to read independently.
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