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by Jan Wahl & illustrated by Rosalinde Bonnet

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: July 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-58089-270-4
Publisher: Charlesbridge

A pure and simple appreciation of art—and of loving it.

Oscar is both a tiny boy and an art collector. His first purchased piece is “an old etching” of a stream and waterwheel; he pulls weeds to afford its price—$1—and to replace the cracked glass and old frame. Sitting on his rocking horse, he gazes at the etching, never bored. Over time, he acquires portraits, still-lifes and landscapes, representational and abstract pieces, many paintings and at least one woodcut. He cherishes each one. Slightly older, he sits reading "Art News," bedroom walls covered in art; when he leaves for college, he carefully packs everything against breakage. The collection grows “until a museum had to be built to hold it.” Readers will share Oscar’s enjoyment via Bonnet’s rendition of the pieces themselves, pleasurably variant in content and vibe, and via the calm cheerfulness of her illustrations. In acrylic paint, pencil and collage, she makes Oscar’s world still but alert, visually joyful but never cluttered. Some adults may cringe that Oscar’s original impetus to view art (rather than create it) is frustration at his own inability to draw representationally; however, it’s his admiration for Great-Granny’s chicken portrait in crayon (in contrast to his own) that spawns an admirable lifelong passion.

Art needs fans and collectors as well as creators, and this will encourage some new ones. (Picture book. 4-7)