A young artist named Emma uses her beloved dog, Muse, as the model and inspiration for her art.
Little Emma sports a tiny black beret as she draws, paints, and sculpts in her own well-supplied studio. Her best friend and artistic muse is her Irish wolfhound, who patiently holds poses and models in costumes to assist Emma. When Muse tries to add his touches to one of Emma’s large canvases, however, she yells at the dog and he runs away. Emma loses her creative edge without her Muse, so she creates posters apologizing to the dog. Muse stops at an outdoor art fair, where one helpful artist shows the dog Emma’s posters. Muse finds his way home, and Emma invites him to collaborate on her next painting. Terms used in the art field are seamlessly woven into the story and reviewed in a glossary, although the idea of an artistic muse is conveyed through context rather than by explicit definition. Charming illustrations in watercolor with pen and ink use white space effectively and provide glimpses of different artistic styles and ways of creating art. Emma is a blonde, light-skinned girl, the artist who helps Muse presents black, and both artists and festivalgoers are diverse. While the illustrations are contemporary and polished, the cover design is not as appealing, with an oddly spaced title. Teachers will find lots of uses for this story as an inspiration for classroom art projects.
Subtly educational and definitely amusing. (Picture book. 4-8)