The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse

by Eric Carle (Author) Eric Carle (Illustrator)

Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

A brilliant new Eric Carle picture book for the artist in us all.

Every child has an artist inside them, and this vibrant picture book from Eric Carle will help let it out. The artist in this book paints the world as he sees it, just like a child. There's a red crocodile, an orange elephant, a purple fox and a polka-dotted donkey. More than anything, there's imagination.

Filled with some of the most magnificently colorful animals of Eric Carle's career, this tribute to the creative life celebrates the power of art.

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Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

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.

School Library Journal

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, CT

Copyright 2011 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Eric Carle
Eric Carle is acclaimed and beloved as the creator of brilliantly illustrated and innovatively designed picture books for very young children. His best-known work, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, has been translated into 70 languages and sold over 55 million copies. Carle illustrated more than seventy books, many best sellers, most of which he also wrote, and more than 170 million copies of his books have sold around the world. In 2003, Carle received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award (now called the Children's Literature Legacy Award) for lifetime achievement in children's literature. In 2002, Eric and his wife, Barbara, cofounded The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art ( in Amherst, Massachusetts, a 40,000-square-foot space dedicated to the celebration of picture books and picture book illustrations from around the world, underscoring the cultural, historical, and artistic significance of picture books and their art form. Eric Carle passed away in May 2021 at the age of 91. His work remains an important influence on artists and illustrators at work today.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
World of Eric Carle
Publication date
October 20, 2011
BISAC categories
JUV003000 - Juvenile Fiction | Art & Architecture
Library of Congress categories

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