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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

sky color, written and illustrated by Peter Reynolds. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2012. $17.00 ages 3 and up

'The classroom buzzed with the sound of brainstorming. The students talked and sketched. Together they made a great drawing. Then they marched to the library. ""I'll paint a fish!" "I'll paint one, too." "I'll paint the ocean!"

Peter Reynolds has proven in two earlier books, The Dot and Ish that he has the heart of an artist and that he uses that heart to create wonderful characters whose artistic bent is evident in everything  they do. In this book, that is companion to the first two, we meet Marisol who is 'an artist through and through'. She has her own art gallery (which remarkably resembles the photo gallery I have on my fridge) and she oozes art from every pore:

"At school, Marisol was famous for her creative clothes, her box of art supplies, and her belief that everyone was an artist."

How can you not love her?  She is ecstatic when her teacher announces that the class is going paint a mural in the library, and she chooses to paint the sky. OOPS - no blue paint! What's an artist to do? When school ends for the day, Marisol has not solved the dilemma she faces. Boarding the bus, it is on her mind. As the sun begins to set, Marisol notices something. When she gets home, she continues to watch the sky colors. She even has a sky dream that night.

Upon awakening, she has the solution. Keeping track of the sky, and remembering her dream, Marisol confidently, and with great success, makes her contribution to the class project!

Peter Reynolds uses pen, ink, watercolor, gouache and tea to create the images for this well-told, beautifully illustrated book. He begins with little color; any used is on Marisol's artwork and in the paint pots. Color begins to emerge once Marisol is on the bus and concentrating on the problem she is facing. As the sun blazes on the horizon, he uses the warmth of reds, yellows, oranges to show the sky as it prepares for sundown. It's enough to get any one's creative juices flowing.

He dedicates this book 'to Aldo Servino, who took the blue paint away from me and helped me paint - and think - in sky color'. We, too, should grateful to Aldo. We reap the benefits of his teaching when we have the opportunity to share this book!
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