by Eric Carle (Author) Eric Carle (Illustrator)
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The Blaue Reiter painter Franz Marc had his art banned by the Nazis, after he died at 36 in WWI. In his first book in more than four years, Carle does not tell Marc's story; he simply assumes his persona. "I am an artist," a mop-headed man says, "and I paint... "a blue horse and... a red crocodile and..." and the series continues, each animal dominating its spread. While Carle's creatures are constructed from his familiar, brilliantly colored painted-paper shapes, it is the strength and sinew of their forms that impresses--not coincidentally, the quality that distinguishes Marc's originals (two are reprinted on the final pages). As the book progresses, the colors of the animals stray farther and farther from reality (there's a purple fox and a polka-dot donkey), all but daring readers to think outside the box. "I am a good artist," the man declares in closing, expressing the satisfaction that comes from using one's creative powers to the fullest. An homage to Marc becomes testimony to Carle's gifts, too. A short afterword about Marc's life is included. Ages 3-5. (Oct.)Copyright 2011 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
PreS-Gr 2—Carle has constructed full-page images of animals in creative colors, beginning with a blue horse and culminating with a polka-dot donkey. The text begins, "I am an artist and I paint..." with each page displaying a different animal labeled with its name and color. The artist appears very pleased with his cheerful creations. Each page turn reveals one remarkable creature after another, and children will be filled with anticipation and surprise as they follow along. A concluding note explains that the artist in the book was inspired by Franz Marc, whose work, like that of other "degenerate artists," was banned by the Nazi regime. A reproduction of Marc's Horse and Yellow Cow is included. Carle's collages include brightly painted papers, custom cut and assembled to represent imaginative, childlike images. Adults will appreciate the connection between Carle and Marc while children will savor the simplicity and predictability of this book. Another masterpiece from a master artist.—Diane Antezzo, Ridgefield Library, CTCopyright 2011 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.