Art, Biography

Vincent Can’t Sleep: Van Gogh Paints the Night Sky By Barb Rosenstock


Back of Book: Vincent van Gogh often found himself unable to sleep and wandered under starlit skies. Those nighttime experiences provided the inspiration for many of his paintings, including his most famous, The Starry Night. Van Gogh sold only one painting in his lifetime—but he continued to pursue his unique vision, and ultimately became one of the most beloved artists of all time.
My Review:
Vincent Van Gogh is one of the most famous painters of all times. I have read many picture books about him as an adult, but I have never read one about him as a child. Vincent Can’t Sleep is a different look at how Vincent’s childhood shaped his art. I love that this book is the perfect balance of teaching readers about Vincent’s mental illness without creating a negative image of him. The text gives readers a well -rounded look about the man whose art has inspired millions. The illustrations are detailed and simply breathtaking. The back of book has a great author’s note that discusses more about Vincent van Gogh. This is a great biography picture book to share in the classroom or library.
Ages 6 and up
40 Pages

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Ellie By Mike Wu


Back of Book:
The zoo is closing!

Ellie and her friends want to save their home, but Ellie’s just a baby elephant, and she doesn’t know what she can do to help.

While the other animals are busy working, Ellie finds a brush and some paints, and gives the zoo a big splash of color! Will her bright new talent be enough to keep the zoo’s gates open for good?
My Review:
I was in Barns in Noble today and I stumbled upon this gem of a story. Ellie is a small elephant in the zoo. When she finds out that the zoo is closing, she tries to find a way to keep it open. One day she picks up a paintbrush, and finds a way to save the zoo. I can’t even begin to tell you how adorable this story is. Readers will cheer Ellie on as she saves the zoo. The illustrations are friendly and childlike. The text is written fantastically and brings the animals to life. I hope that Mike Wu writes many more Ellie stories.
Ages 4 and up
40 Pages

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Art, Read Your World

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat


Back of Book:

 Somewhere in Brooklyn, a little boy dreams of being a famous artist, not knowing that one day he would make himself a king.

My Review:

When I heard that this book was a winner of a Caldecott Medal and a winner of a Coretta Scott Illustrator Award I knew I had to read it.  I did not know much about the great artist Jean Michel Basquiat and this story opened my eyes to his fight and challenges he faced to become the great artist he was. Jean was famous for his collage-style painting and the illustrations in this story mirror the authors work. I am so glad that this book received an award for its unique and breathtaking images. This is a perfect story to add to any collection. I would keep it for an older audience because some of it is a bit heavy for younger audiences to read and understand. Overall, I say a true winner and worth reading.

Ages 9 and up

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40 Pages


Art, School

Too Much Glue By Jason Lefebvre

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Back of Book:  Although Matty’s art teacher has warned him that too much glue never dries, Matty loves glue. After all, he and his dad make oodles of glue projects at home. One day during art class, Matty finds the fullest bottles of glue, and the fun begins. With a squeeze and a plop, Matty pours a lake of glue before belly-flopping right in the middle and finds himself stuck to the desk.

My Review:  Every teacher can relate to this fun and engaging story about a boy who gets a bit to excited about glue! We have all had that child in class who instead of a dot of glue uses half the bottle for one piece of a project. I am looking forward to reading this story to my students before we have art class this year. The illustrations in this book are fun and keep children interested in what Matty is going to do to get out of the glue. The ending is sweet and shows kids that it can be okay to get messy sometimes.

Ages 5 and up

32 Pages