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Pablo the Artist

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Pablo is having trouble with his contribution to the painting exhibition. Nothing seems to be right. His fellow-artists suggest he try painting a landscape, so he sets off into the country to look for the perfect view. At lunchtime, he has done his best but he’s still not satisfied, so he decides to take a rest. While sleeping, he dreams that the local animals come and make some changes to his painting — Bird adds a bluer sky, Sheep adds a brighter green grass, and Mr. Wolf ...

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Overview

Pablo is having trouble with his contribution to the painting exhibition. Nothing seems to be right. His fellow-artists suggest he try painting a landscape, so he sets off into the country to look for the perfect view. At lunchtime, he has done his best but he’s still not satisfied, so he decides to take a rest. While sleeping, he dreams that the local animals come and make some changes to his painting — Bird adds a bluer sky, Sheep adds a brighter green grass, and Mr. Wolf groups all of them together to add focus.

When Pablo wakes up he knows just what to do to make his painting right!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Pablo, an elephant in a pale yellow suit and brown fedora, bears little stylistic resemblance to his Spanish namesake. He belongs to the pedestrian Hoof Lane Art Club, a suburban salon whose most daring member is a zebra with a passion for parallel lines. When Pablo suffers "artist's block," he strolls to a verdant field, paints a drab picture of a tree and takes a nap. While he sleeps, passing animals rate his handiwork (a thin ink frame around each page subtly suggests a fantasy suspension of Pablo's humdrum reality). The watery grass "looks completely tasteless!" to a sheep, who tints it "a delicious bright green." "No nuts! I see no nuts!" chatters a squirrel, who hops on the sheep's back to paint dots in the branches. The animals depart just as Pablo awakens and exclaims, "What a strange dream.... Now I know exactly what to do!," and gets back to work. The finished canvas goes unseen until the last moment, when Pablo displays it at an exhibition; readers will smile at his secret helpers, silently joining the gallery throng. As in Igor, the Bird Who Couldn't Sing, Kitamura imagines a character overcoming creative limitations, and his droll double-entendre clarifies what happened: "For Pablo it was a dream come true." Kitamura illustrates in his signature choppy, shaky ink lines and saturated colors. Thanks to Pablo's furred and feathered critics, readers notice what an unobservant painter might neglect when crafting a natural landscape. Ages 4-8. (Mar.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
As the Hoof Lane Art Club members, all anthropomorphic animals, busily prepare for their painting exhibition, Pablo the elephant finds it impossible to paint anything that looks right to him. He decides to go out into the countryside for inspiration. While he takes his nap, we see other animals passing his painting, feeling that it has something missing. So a sheep adds tasty grass, a squirrel some nuts, a bird blue sky for spreading wings. A boar misses her shady grove, while bees fill the field with painted flowers. Finally a wolf adds the last touch. When Pablo wakes up from his dream of the painting, he has seen how to finish it to make it the hit of the exhibition. The opening double-page scene in the club shows Pablo and his friends at their easels in a studio filled with the appropriate mess of paints, stacked canvases, scattered drawings, etc. Black line drawings are painted with colors that create a light hearted, detailed setting for this examination of "artist's block." Aspects of the creative process and encouragement of the artistic impulse despite a "block," enhance the rather simple story for young artists. 2005, Farrar Straus Giroux, Ages 4 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-The Hoof Lane Art Club is preparing for an exhibition of their work, and it is Pablo the elephant's dream to participate, but he is suffering from artist's block. After trying his hand at every sort of painting from still life to abstract, he heads for an empty field to attempt a landscape. He paints a simple tree, eats lunch, and falls asleep. In his dream, Pablo is visited by various animals, each with a perspective that improves his painting. When he wakes up, he creates a masterpiece. The story lacks the humor of Kitamura's previous books and is disappointing. However, the illustrations are strong and the expressiveness of the characters lends much to the telling. Pablo is an earnest fellow, and the fact that he can still paint with his trunk while his hands are shoved in his pockets in frustration is a visual device used to great effect. The message that art is not created in a void might be missed by younger readers. However, the book offers a good platform from which to question children about where our ideas and inspirations come from, and as such would be suitable for storytime or classroom reading.-Kara Schaff Dean, Needham Public Library, MA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Members of the Hoof Lane Art Club are excited about the exhibition of their work, except for Pablo, the elephant. His canvas is blank-artist's block. At the suggestion of his fellow animal painters, he finds a beautiful view and begins a landscape. While he's sleeping after a lunch break, a sheep, squirrel, bird, wild boar, swarm of bees and a wolf each take up Pablo's brushes and add what they think is missing from his painting (e.g. the squirrel adds nuts). When Pablo wakes up and looks at his canvas, he smilingly adds one finishing touch. Needless to say, his painting is the star of the show, as it captures the entire scene of the wolf painting the woodland creatures in a group shot. Kitamura's familiar cartoon style and wry humor pair perfectly in this original take on artist's block. Pablo is dressed in a suit, necktie, hat and spectacles and naturally paints with his trunk. The other characters appropriately use hoof, paw, beak, etc. The message is underplayed while the comic details colorfully add to the appeal. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781842705650
  • Publisher: Andersen
  • Publication date: 12/28/2006
  • Pages: 32

Meet the Author

Satoshi Kitamura was born in 1956 in Tokyo. Not formally trained as an artist, at the age of nineteen he began to do commercial art in Japan and, later, London. He won the Mother Goose Award for his first picture book, Angry Arthur, in collaboration with Hiawyn Oram, and in 2000 was the Smarties runner-up for Me and My Cat?

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