The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse

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A brilliant new Eric Carle picture book for the artist in us all

Every child has an artist inside them, and this vibrant picture book from Eric Carle will help let it out. The artist in this book paints the world as he sees it, just like a child. There's a red crocodile, an orange elephant, a purple fox and a polka-dotted donkey. More than anything, there's imagination. Filled with some of the most magnificently colorful animals of Eric Carle's career, this tribute to the ...

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A brilliant new Eric Carle picture book for the artist in us all

Every child has an artist inside them, and this vibrant picture book from Eric Carle will help let it out. The artist in this book paints the world as he sees it, just like a child. There's a red crocodile, an orange elephant, a purple fox and a polka-dotted donkey. More than anything, there's imagination. Filled with some of the most magnificently colorful animals of Eric Carle's career, this tribute to the creative life celebrates the power of art.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Eric Carle's first picture book in four years pays tribute to early 20th century painter Franz Marc by emulating his fancifully colored animal creations. There is nothing esoteric about this celebration; kids love its joyous spontaneity and free play of the artistic spirit.

Lisa Dugan

Publishers Weekly
The Blaue Reiter painter Franz Marc had his art banned by the Nazis, after he died at 36 in WWI. In his first book in more than four years, Carle does not tell Marc’s story; he simply assumes his persona. “I am an artist,” a mop-headed man says, “and I paint... “a blue horse and... a red crocodile and...” and the series continues, each animal dominating its spread. While Carle’s creatures are constructed from his familiar, brilliantly colored painted-paper shapes, it is the strength and sinew of their forms that impresses—not coincidentally, the quality that distinguishes Marc’s originals (two are reprinted on the final pages). As the book progresses, the colors of the animals stray farther and farther from reality (there’s a purple fox and a polka-dot donkey), all but daring readers to think outside the box. “I am a good artist,” the man declares in closing, expressing the satisfaction that comes from using one’s creative powers to the fullest. An homage to Marc becomes testimony to Carle’s gifts, too. A short afterword about Marc’s life is included. Ages 3–5. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
In the briefest of texts set in large type, Carle begins his tale with, "...I am an artist..." and shows us across large double pages what he paints: a blue horse, a red crocodile, a yellow cow, a pink rabbit, a green lion, an orange elephant, a purple fox, a black polar bear, and a polka-dotted donkey. He concludes, "I am a good artist." This is followed by a reproduction of Franz Marc's "Blue Horse 1" and a brief biography of Marc. A note on Carle offers background on his youth in Germany under the repressive Nazi regime, which declared modern art "degenerate." But Carle found beauty in this art, and feels that his odd-colored animals were born seventy years ago in this realization. Carle's illustrations, done in painted tissue-paper collage, are in his usual style. They capture the characteristics of each animal while eliminating all but the most basic details. The introduction of unusual colors for the animals prepares viewers for contemporary art such as Marc's, while offering good practice in color identification. A riot of colors is splashed across the end pages. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Carle has constructed full-page images of animals in creative colors, beginning with a blue horse and culminating with a polka-dot donkey. The text begins, "I am an artist and I paint…" with each page displaying a different animal labeled with its name and color. The artist appears very pleased with his cheerful creations. Each page turn reveals one remarkable creature after another, and children will be filled with anticipation and surprise as they follow along. A concluding note explains that the artist in the book was inspired by Franz Marc, whose work, like that of other "degenerate artists," was banned by the Nazi regime. A reproduction of Marc's Horse and Yellow Cow is included. Carle's collages include brightly painted papers, custom cut and assembled to represent imaginative, childlike images. Adults will appreciate the connection between Carle and Marc while children will savor the simplicity and predictability of this book. Another masterpiece from a master artist.—Diane Antezzo, Ridgefield Library, CT
Kirkus Reviews

This bright new entry by an old pro should find a place on the long shelf of picture books about animals and colors.

A narrator-artist appears at the beginning and end, confidently wielding a brush. Each spread in between showcases a single large, arresting animal portrait. The child-friendly theme features fanciful coloring: blue horse, pink rabbit, purple fox. Although the narrator claims specifically to "paint" each one, the illustrations are actually made from painted tissue-paper collage, which allows for stylized sharp edges and a lively choppiness. To emphasize the bold bushiness of the green lion's mane and the thick, rugged armor on the dark-red crocodile, Carle pulls a tool through wet paint, leaving thick patterned lines. The textured, yellow-and-orange cow's body reveals traces of darkness showing through from the night-sky background of black and green-blue. Fans of animals, color recognition or shouting out what's unusual will laugh at each creature's delightfully preposterous color. An author's note pays homage to Franz Marc, a German painter born in 1880, and reproduces two pieces: Blue Horse I and Yellow Cow. The target audience here will find the concept of a tribute to a fine artist too abstract, but Marc's colorful pieces themselves might well hold interest, with adult encouragement.

Eye-catching fun. (author's note) (Picture book. 2-5)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399257131
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 10/4/2011
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 35,916
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 12.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Eric Carle

Eric Carle lives in Northampton, Massachusetts. Visit the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts.

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    1. Hometown:
      Northampton, Massachusetts and the Berkshires
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 25, 1929
    2. Place of Birth:
      Syracuse, New York
    1. Education:
      Akademie der bildenden Künste, Stuttgart, 1946-50
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    this is a terrific creative inspirational. this is a terrific creative inspirational.

    The child is an artist painting a blue horse followed by a red crocodile and then a yellow cow. The kid continues to paint other animals using colors like orange for the elephant and polka-dots for donkey drawn from pictures in the mind's eye.

    Although the targeted audience is pre-school with a strong message of use your imagination to take you where you want to be, The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse is much more. Eric Carle pays homage to Franz Marc who painted The Blue Horse in 1911; he died during WWI and a few years later the Nazis banned his work. Readers of all ages will appreciate Mr. Carle's original way to encourage the young artist in everyone to draw your imagination and to showcase the work of a great painter from a century ago while also showcasing his on skills. With a green lion, a black polar bear and a purple fox oh my, this is a terrific creative inspirational.

    Harriet Klausner

    11 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2013

    Great pictures, very few words

    This is a nice picture book. I'd recommend it for young children that don't know how, or are just learning how to read. It has a nice message, but it is told in very few words.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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