A range of art styles is explored in this picture book that invites readers to imagine how various artists would paint a snowman.
An anthropomorphic hamster wields a paintbrush in opening double-page spreads alongside narration that never mentions it. “If someone asked you to paint a snowman, you would probably start with three white circles stacked upon one another.” The hamster is doing exactly that. It then describes how 17 different artists would paint a snowman, describing diverse styles, techniques, and movements. Diversity ends on that note, however, with only three women among the 17 artists (Georgia O’Keefe, Pablita Velarde, and Sonia Delaunay), one person of color (Jacob Lawrence) and one Native person (Pablita Velarde). The examples of the art mimic some of the artists’ famous paintings but incorporate imagined snowmen into them. For example, Dali’s “snowmen drip like melted cheese” in a double-page spread that emulates The Persistence of Memory with flattened, drooping snowmen rather than timepieces depicted on the surreal landscape. The off-and-on reappearance of the artist hamster seems a bit intrusive, but a closing spread with a blank easel nicely invites readers to copy it and make their own snowman painting. Endnotes provide further context about the artists, but they do not consistently name the referenced paintings or provide sources for quotations.
A playful introduction to various art movements, albeit a narrow one with weak backmatter. (Picture book. 5-9)