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THERE WAS AN OLD MAN WHO PAINTED THE SKY by Teri Sloat

THERE WAS AN OLD MAN WHO PAINTED THE SKY

By Teri Sloat (Author) , Stefano Vitale (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: July 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-8050-6751-4
Publisher: Henry Holt

This intriguing creation story was inspired by a real event. An author’s note informs readers that in 1879 an eight-year-old girl discovered primitive paintings on the ceiling of a cave in Spain. From this seed a vision spins out in Vitale’s psychedelic, mixed-media illustrations and Sloat’s energetic verse. Based loosely on the rhythm of the familiar folk song about the old woman who swallowed a fly, the cumulative text imagines an elderly, bearded creator who paints the sky, the stars, moon and sun, day and night, people, planets and animals into being. From there he passes the paints to his human creations, who decorate themselves and the world. Next comes “the child in a cave all alone” who finds the images on the ceiling. While the text may have been motivated by historical events, the child depicted is in modern dress, which may confuse literal-minded readers. Most young listeners, however, will be too busy poring over the pictures and pondering the great mystery to worry too much about the details. Fascinating and thought-provoking. (Picture book. 4-8)