Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Teach Color with Chaotic Animals

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Teach Color with Chaotic Animals

Article excerpt

Byline: Brandy Hilboldt Allport


Author and illustrator: Tedd Arnold

Details: Holiday House, $16.95. Ages 3 to 5.

Vincent decides to paint his house white. Simple, right? Think again, and study the close-up illustration of Snow and Ivory oozing from tubes to create thick globs on Vincent's palette. Now, enter a foil in the form of a pop-eyed spider hanging from its web. The arachnid wields a minuscule brush, and a commensurate can of red paint dangles from one of its eight legs. Is it Rose, Crimson, Scarlet or Vermilion? Never mind. A caterpillar pushing a paint-laden brush of Canary or perhaps Lemon Yellow crawls along the window adding a third color to the outside of the cottage.

The parade of characters and colors continues. Beetle wants purple. Bird wants blue. Snake wants green. Mouse wants brown, and Bat wants black. Vincent considers all suggestions. However, as the pages turn, the final decision becomes moot.

As they argue their cases the creatures who dwell in or near Vincent's house keep layering on hues to demonstrate and persuade. Vincent proclaims: "I like all the colors." Everyone was happy. The last few pages showcase the completed job, which includes a mottled but attractive mix of everything from Cream to Jet, with daubs of Ultramarine, Peach, Chartreuse, Umber and countless other tints.

Children enjoy books with refrains "Yellow is nice. Purple is nice. Blue is nice." After a few read-aloud sessions, grown-ups can expect youngsters to yell the next color and the animal who loves it. Obviously, when the book ends, paint and paper and a sketch of a cottage demand attention and experimentation. Stand by with brushes, paint and paper. Besides a lesson in sharing, the book also provides a chance to introduce to the signature layered style of Vincent Van Gogh.

Tedd Arnold's witty, kinesthetic illustrations add to the fun.

Read "Paints His House" and leave the full biography of Van Gogh and the evolution of his art until children are older. …

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