Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Beatrix Potter and Her Paint Box
Written by David McPhail
Henry Holt and Company, LLC (2015), Ages 3-10
This story is a semi-biographical story about the author and illustrator, Beatrix Potter. As a young girl she was given her mother's paint box. She instantly fell in love with creating and painted small pictures where ever she went. As she grew older, she continued to paint and one day she heard of a friend's son who had fallen ill. In order to cheer him up, she wrote him a story in a letter and after much convincing from her friend, she eventually made it into a book. "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" quickly became a best seller and Beatrix went on to write several other beautifully illustrated children's books.
The author's style is very simplistic. There is no more than five sentences per page and each sentence is written using very basic language. The chronological order of events flows seamlessly from page to page and there are no major jumps or missing pieces in the story. The constant theme of painting or the paint box on each page gives the writing style a very cohesive flow throughout the story.
The illustrations are beautiful watercolor-like paintings. The light washes of color are very similar to Beatrix Potter's painting style. They are simplistic scenes depicting the action being described in the text on the opposite page. The sketchy lines and light washes of color gives the illustrations a light, nostalgic, whimsical feel.
I loved this book! I thought it was adorable and would be a fantastic way to introduce the idea of an author/illustrator or biography to students. Being an art teacher, I would use this book at an elementary level to introduce a new lesson. I would collaborate with the classroom teacher in having the students learn about authors/illustrators and specifically Beatrix Potter and "The Tales of Peter Rabbit". I think that it would be a great connection between art and English but could be used at a general classroom level as well. I would highly recommend this book to any one trying to introduce the ideas of biographies or Beatrix Potter to younger children.
Review by Sara Andrews