Boy and dog share the utter pleasure of creating art.
“I need to paint and draw every day,” explains a round-headed kid with pencil-hatched hair in this sweet, carefully composed paean to creativity. When he paints a gray building, Barroux’s composition mimics that shape in the foreground as a table spotlighting art supplies. Swaths of textured paint and pencil lines feature throughout. Companion Louie, a white dog with a long body, long muzzle and tiny legs, insists upon being depicted in his owner’s work. After the boy leaves for school, Louie explodes from art subject to artist. In two consecutive full-bleed spreads, Louie dashes back and forth, racing through paint and leaving footprints, squeezing paint tubes and holding brushes in his mouth. He’s so busy that he appears four times on each exuberant spread, covered in splotches, streaking paint everywhere. Returning home, the boy stands atop a beige staircase and peers towards a black wall, where the studio door is propped open by a (now multi-hued) dog. The mostly unseen him background inside the studio glows with color. Louie’s chef-d'œuvre evokes Cézanne (explained in an author’s note). Only a loose close-up of the Cézanne homage actually appears, but its freely casual vibe combines with the childlike skill level of the boy’s own paintings to prevent readers from feeling insecure in their own attempts. This is about enthusiastic process, not product.Have the easels handy; inspiration is inevitable. (author’s note) (Picture book. 3-6)