A Picture-Book Lesson about Color with Vincent van Gogh

BookendsCindy: The hardest part of a painting project is selecting the color! Am I the only one who is surprised by how many shades of white there are on those Pantone paint chips? Tedd Arnold’s bug-eyed, scruffy, red-bearded character in Vincent Paints His House has even more problems with his project because everyone has an opinion about which color he should choose from his palette.

Vincent Paints His House by Tedd ArnoldVincent himself can’t choose, so he decides to go with white. “White is nice,” says Vincent. Tubes of paint labeled with white choices line the page: Snow, Ivory, Titanium, and Cream. But wait. “Stop!” says the spider. “This is MY house, and I like red.” The paint tubes now offer different hues: Rose, Crimson, Scarlet, and Vermilion.

Spider isn’t the only one with a preference. The caterpillar, beetle, bird, butterfly, snake, mouse, and bat each offer suggestions that work their way through the rainbow. The repetitive, simple pattern will be chanted by children during story hour while the color names provide a more challenging vocabulary. Brilliant . . . just like Vincent’s final color choice.

Lynn: Arnold’s comedic illustrations fill the pages with bold colors. His trademark googly-eyed characters provide lots of fun as each new brush-wielding inhabitant promotes his favorite color. This is especially fun for all of us, big or small, who love to read the color names in our big boxes of crayons. With coloring making such a big comeback, this little book should be included with the supplies!

Kids don’t have to know about Vincent van Gogh or understand the end-page tribute to Starry Night to enjoy this book, and it is a fun way for a parent or teacher to open the door for them into a little taste of art history.



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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