Books and Websites
Children’s Book Briefs
I’m the Best Artist in the Ocean.
Kevin Sherry. New York, NY: Dial
Books for Young Readers, 2008.
Illus., hardcover, 30 pp., $16.99.
In this book, we meet a squid, the
self-proclaimed “Best Artist in the
Ocean.” As the squid travels through
the ocean, painting in several styles,
he annoys the other denizens of the
deep by making a mess. The final
scene proves that it’s advantageous to
have powerful patrons.
The clean-lined, exuberant illustrations are printed simply upon a watercolor background that could inspire
art lessons for young students.
The different styles in which the
other ocean dwellers are drawn could
very easily lead to a discussion on
aesthetics simply by asking students
which of the squid’s styles they prefer.
This book provides a colorful way
for educators to prepare students for
an interdisciplinary ocean unit.
The Art Collector. Jan Wahl, illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge, 2011.
Illus., hardcover, 30 pp., $15.95.
Like most children, Oscar loves art.
But when he tries to make art himself,
Oscar ends up frustrated and disappointed. In order to learn how to love
art without the frustration he feels
when he attempts to make art, Oscar
decides to become a collector.
This book’s illustrations highlight
a variety of art genres and styles. The
variety of styles on just one page could
spark a lively discussion about art
criticism, and the attention given to
the care of paintings might inspire
students to want to visit art museums.
Many students come to art class
believing that if they don’t “make” art
they haven’t really been to art class.
This book provides a lovely way to
show students that there is more than
one way to “do” art.
The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse.
Eric Carle. New York, NY: Philomel
Books, 2011. Illus., hardcover, 24
We have come know and love the
work of Eric Carle, and we expect his
books to have certain characteristics:
gorgeous artwork, an uplifting message, and child-friendly language. This
book is no exception. The book introduces us to several new characters
through a young artist’s paintings and
sends the message that animals can
be any color that the artist imagines
them to be.
Where this book differs from other
Eric Carle books is in the final pages,
where Franz Marc and two of his
paintings (Blue Horse I and Yellow
Cow) are introduced. Marc’s work is
described as “stylized in form, uncon-
ventional in color, and expressing
pantheistic spirituality.” While the
content of this section may require
some translation for young readers,
its message is invaluable to educators
who want to introduce their students
to the world of art history.
Denise Clyne-Ruch is the art specialist at
L.A.Nelson Elementary School in Denton,
Know the Artist Student Posters.
Glenview, IL: Crystal Productions.
$3.95 each or $99.95 for thirty.
Young students often envision themselves as famous artists. Crystal Productions can make that dream come
true with the release of their newest
item, Know the Artist Student Posters. Modeled on the Know the Artist
posters that feature masterworks,
these posters allow students to show
and discuss their own artwork in a
similar format. Included in the student posters are the same headings as
the masterwork posters: Biography,
About the Artwork, and a timeline.
The posters have designated spaces for
displaying one large artwork and three
smaller ones. If desired, a photograph
of the student can be placed at the top
of the poster.
Each poster is a robust 18 x 24"
( 45 x 60 cm), a size that makes them
ideal to hang in classrooms, offices, or
hallways. The professional format of
the posters provides a uniform way to
display student artwork, thus making
them ideal for special school occasions such as Youth Art Month or end-of-year student exhibitions. Printed
on heavy stock, the posters will be