Artist Cole and writer Watt begin a fruitful artistic collaboration with their debut children’s book about a young boy who loves to paint and uses the colors surrounding him to spark his creative imagination.
A precocious, nameless young boy spends all his free time painting. Problem is, all he has to paint are the drab houses that surround him in his boring country town. Fed up with his subjects, the boy resolves to throw out all of his work, but as a yellow garbage truck rumbles toward him to pick up the paintings, he has an epiphany about the potential of color and finds his creative energies revived. The boy uses the colors he sees in everyday objects to imagine scenes more vivid than the view offered from his bedroom window. A red stop sign becomes the crimson air of a sunset; a green recycling bin inspires him to paint a lush forest floor. Enthralled with his ability to imagine a world bigger than the one that surrounds him, the boy pledges to remain a painter his whole life. All the paintings attributed to the boy are oil paintings produced by Cole, and most have a gauzy, expressive quality that aptly highlights the color being emphasized. The boy himself never appears as more than a silhouette made from sepia-tinted dictionary pages referencing art-related words. The accessible text will engage young readers and carry their attention, even though several turns of phrase may be confusing to the book’s audience of 3- to 7-year-olds. That’s just a minor quibble, though, which is overshadowed by an interesting story, attention-grabbing pictures and a noble lesson to live life colorfully.
After reading this book, your kid will want a paintbrush.