Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle

Picture book genius, Eric Carle, has written more than 70 picture books over a career that began more than 40 years ago.

(Please see the marvelous video of Eric Carle talking about and reading his new book at bottom of post.)

The Artist Who Painted a Blue HorseMr. Carle was born in Syracuse, N.Y., to German immigrant parents. When Eric was 6 years old, they returned to their homeland. It was not a happy move for young Eric, who missed his life in America.

Fortunately, he developed a special connection with his high-school art teacher, Herr Krauss.  He secretly showed Eric works by painters like Picasso, Matisse and a German named Franz Marc, whose work had been banned by the Nazis. Mr. Carle has said this experience deeply affected his own artistic work.

Now, he directly references that experience and pays homage to Marc's Expressionist art in his newest book, "The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse" (Philomel, $17.99, ages 3-6). 
Eric Carle and The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The artwork is done in Mr. Carle's trademark tissue-paper-collage style.  It is a series of images of brightly colored animals bookended with pictures of an artist, who begins the book by saying, "I am an artist and I paint."

He ends the book with the powerful word, good, when he says, "I am a good artist." Young readers, many of whom, exhibit self-confidence in their own abilities, may mirror image the artist's self-assurance.

The double-page portraits of animals, each more beautifully colored than the last, are gorgeous to behold. Of course, there's a blue horse, but there's also a pink rabbit, a green lion, a purple fox and a donkey sporting primary colored polka dots, among others.

"The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse" will have a first printing of 300,000 copies -- a huge number for a picture book, so Philomel obviously expects Mr. Carle's latest to be another best-seller.

This blogger wishes him the best of luck with the book.  Mr. Carle validates and gives permission to each small reader to paint in his or her own way and be a good artist.

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