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A mind-bendingly clever farmyard romp
In this deceptively simple picture book, author-illustrator Deborah Freedman has created an irresistible character that springs to life and wreaks havoc in a farmyard with a pot of blue paint. The innocent chicken just wants to help, but things get worse and worse - and bluer and bluer - the more she tries. Playing with colors and perspective, and using minimal text, this richly layered story reveals new ...
A mind-bendingly clever farmyard romp
In this deceptively simple picture book, author-illustrator Deborah Freedman has created an irresistible character that springs to life and wreaks havoc in a farmyard with a pot of blue paint. The innocent chicken just wants to help, but things get worse and worse - and bluer and bluer - the more she tries. Playing with colors and perspective, and using minimal text, this richly layered story reveals new things to see and laugh about with each reading.
Breathtakingly beautiful meta-illustrations will draw many eyes to this tale of a curious chicken who spills some paint.
"This picture is almost finished," narrates an unseen artist whose life-size pencil and brush lie across a barnyard drawing with cow, chicken coop and wheelbarrow softly shaded and colored but a barn only outlined. "[T]his day is perfect for painting the barn. / But wait. Does one of the chickens want to help?" A small white chicken patters out from the coop onto the blank white background, climbing up onto the edge of a paint pot—and tipping it over. Blue paint flows down the page, splattering on finished and unfinished bits of the original picture. It floods onto pansies, chicks and the cow, whose "moo wakes the chickens. They're peevish and blue." Irritated blue chickens give chase across now all-blue spreads; the original chicken who "just wanted to... / HELP!" is intimidated and "[s]incerely sorry." Watercolor washes and splashes, from pale blue to dark, create wonderful, wet patterns; their liquid edges contrast alluringly with fine pencil lines and shadings. Resourcefully, the chicken tips out the artist's brush-rinsing water jar, drenching and cleansing this world back into neatness. But is that the artist at the end, painting a real barn outdoors while something hilarious happens indoors in her studio?
Delicate and durable, visually sophisticated yet friendly: simply exquisite. (Picture book. 3-7)
Posted September 17, 2011
Adorable merging of print and real life! The story begins as a picture of a barn scene is begin painted by an unseen artist. The brown chicken coop is complete along with the chicks and chickens. The artist is going to work on the barn now. One curious chicken eyeballs the blue paint, hops off the painting and decides to 'help' paint the picture. She ends up spilling the blue paint all over the pages and everything becomes a blue watercolored mess!
Goodness that little chicken has caused havic and is so sorry for the mess and wants to 'undo the blue'.
Artistic story line of this cute little chicken getting into trouble and becoming part of the real life scene though he was simply just a part of the painting. The other farm animals follow suit as the blue paint runs across their pages turning them blue as well. The creativity of having the painting come to life, run ammuck and then become a painting again is so fun for curious children. The words and drawings flow together so beautifully and you want to reread the story as soon as you come to the end!
Thanks to Penguin for sending me this book to review and to Deborah Freedman for passing along my information to them. This was a fantastic children' book!
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Posted August 6, 2013
I saw an image from this book and that was enough to make me want to buy it. I am so not disappointed. This book combines farm animals AND art. Brilliant! The artwork in this book propels the story, but the text is still delightful and simple enough for the youngest of listeners and the youngest of readers. My son as been known to capsize his paints and color more than he intended, so this story is very relatable for him.
Of course, the illustrations are wonderful. As much as I love the helpful, clumsy blue chicken, I think it is the blue-yellow duckling that captured my heart. I highly recommend this adorably whimsical book, especially for preschoolers, whose "help" can sometimes lead to some colorful situations.