The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse
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The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  1,191 ratings  ·  170 reviews
A brilliant new Eric Carle picture book for the artist in us all

Every child has an artist inside them, and this vibrant picture book from Eric Carle will help let it out. The artist in this book paints the world as he sees it, just like a child. There's a red crocodile, an orange elephant, a purple fox and a polka-dotted donkey. More than anything, there's imagination. Fil...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 4th 2011 by Philomel Books
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A Color of His Own by Leo LionniBrown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.My Many Colored Days by Dr. SeussFreight Train by Donald CrewsGreen by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Best Children's Books About Colors
10th out of 75 books — 29 voters
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleThe Mixed-Up Chameleon by Eric CarleThe Mountain That Loved a Bird by Alice McLerranThe Very Lonely Firefly by Eric CarleFrom Head to Toe by Eric Carle
Best of Eric Carle
8th out of 92 books — 2 voters


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Community Reviews

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Gundula
Oct 06, 2012 Gundula rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: children interested in art and artists
I have to say that I am a little disappointed with and by this book. I have always loved Eric Carle's artwork, and the illustrations are lovely, evocative, exuberant, pure Eric Carle magic. But I don't really find the narrative all that interesting and engaging (and I also do not see exactly how the text is or can be regarded as an homage to Franz Marc, the illustrations, definitely, but the text, not so much). If Eric Carle had wanted to have both the text and the illustrations appear as an hom...more
Kathryn
2 STARS for the story (mostly for the illustrations, actually) but an additional star for the biographical information provided at the end.

I was very disappointed in this book, I'm afraid. I really could not reconcile the "story" aspect with the biographical information in this book. I thought going into it that it was a biography of Carle, then I thought maybe it was supposed to be a biography of Franz Marc (whose art inspired Carle) after I read the biographical info at the back. I realize the...more
Lisa Vegan
Nov 23, 2011 Lisa Vegan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all young artists and art appreciators, especially those fascinated by how color is used in art
I wanted to love this even more than I did because I loved: the art, the author’s note at the end about Franz Marc and the inclusion of one of that artist’s blue horse paintings, and I love the message that using atypical colors can be fine art.

But, there’s no story here at all. It just shows the artist saying he’s painting this animal in that color and that animal in this color. That’s the entire book.

The simplicity of the text and the big boldly colored illustrations make it a suitable book f...more
Dolly
Oct 19, 2011 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
We've loved Eric Carle's books and have read some of them (like The Very Hungry Caterpillar) so many times that our own board book copies have fallen apart. So when we saw this book, I just knew we had to borrow it.

I was afraid that our girls would think it was too young and babyish for them, but they really liked it too. And I loved the information about Franz Marc, who inspired the book as well as the expanded biographical information about the author and his art teacher's boldness and braver...more
Randie
First off, my son was so EXCITED when he saw the cover this book! He said: "Oh, oh, oh! I know this author! He writes the story and is the illustrator for all of the books I like!" I love that we both have had the opportunity to grow up with Eric Carle's works, let's hope he passes the books on to the next generation.

Secondly, this is a bright, fun, and creative story about an artist painting uniquely colored animals. The donkey was our favorite.

Great book for young children.
Carolynne
This is a concept book rather than either a biography ( of Franz Marc, German born painter killed in WWI)or fiction. Great for inspiring children to exercise freedom of expression, teaching colors, shapes, and other basic art concepts. The author's note also tells how reactionary the Nazi regime was, forbidding any kind of modern or abstract art.
Barbara
With simple text and his trademark painted tissue paper collage, Eric Carle celebrates the artist inside each of us while paying tribute to artist Franz Marc whose nontraditional paintings such as Blue Horse I, painted in 1911, were controversial at the time because of their use of unusual colors. In this picture book a young artist uses his imagination to paint a blue horse, a red crocodile, a yellow cow, a green lion, and even a donkey with a rainbow of polka dots across its side. Back matter...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Eric Carle draws animals in crazy and unexpected colors, all beautiful and bright and magnificent. He is right when he says, “I am a good artist.”

“I am an artist
and I paint…
a blue horse
and…
a red crocodile
and…”

I just can't think logically about an Eric Carle book. I love it. Unconditionally.
David
The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle pays tribute to Blue Rider (Blaue Reiter), created by painter Franz Marc (1880-1916), emulating Marc's creations of fancifully colored animals, making this a celebration of the artistic spirit.

This story is about an artist who paints beautiful animals in bright, vibrant colors not associated with those animals: such as a polka dot donkey, a green lion, a black polar bear, or a red crocodile. The main text is in a large bold font, and simple words...more
Heidi
I love the theme behind this book. The idea that just because something is usually done in one way, doesn't mean it is wrong to do it another way is an important theme. Children especially are vulnerable to the idea that there is only one way to do something. This book helps counter that idea, by suggesting that exercising our creativity is a good thing. The illustrations are typical Carle, simple in shape, yet complex in design. Of course children aren't going to see most of that. The classes I...more
VegasGal
I thought that I would have a special affinity with this author and really appreciate this book since I so proudly colored a picture of Jesus purple when I was a young child doing crafts in vacation bible school, but alas I was completely disappointed. Sure, I understand the point of "thinking outside the box" and being creative, and yes, the pictures were colored very nicely with wild, vivid colors, but there was no accompanying story, which is a big disappointment especially since the book is...more
Veronica
Simple storytelling coupled with vivid imagery make this newest release by acclaimed children's author Eric Carle truly remarkable. Especially interesting to me, as an adult, was his inspiration for the storybook: the works of Franz Marc, whose painting, The Blue Horse, was banned by the Nazis during WWII. The abnormal colors and composition of his art were thought to be an abomination and an insult to art itself. In this book, however, Carle presents the notion that any and all art is interesti...more
Jenny
My four year old loves this book and has asked me to read it over and over again. She even enjoyed the author's note. Eric Carle was inspired by Franz Marc who painted animals in bright and unusual colors, particularly blue horses. She has asked me to tell her about Franz Marc over and over again and how he died during the war with a sketchbook in his pocket. I know that some felt like the story is too simple...and it is very simple... or that the author's biographical note about Franz Marc and...more
Janet
Eric Carle has had many picture books over the years, but for me personally this is the one that just shouts joy! It is so apparent in these illustrations that Mr. Carle has a deep abiding soul of an artist. His purple fox and polka dotted donkey are stunning. When viewing these illustrations I was reminded of the riots of color found on various horses sculptures in Lexinton, Ky. several years ago. Also in Belzoni, MS there are a number of catfish lavishly displayed in brilliant colors. This boo...more
Amy Hafner
Hooray for a new book by one of my favorite children's authors! I thought this book was so much more than just a picture book for children. I believe it's Carle's way of telling young artists that it's okay to think outside the box. Paint what you feel. Pay no attention to the rules. Express yourself.
I had no idea that Eric Carle grew up in Germany during WWII and was influenced by a teacher who introduced him to the "degenerate artists" whose work the Nazis banned. I hope my children will alwa...more
Paul Farbman
Mar 23, 2014 Paul Farbman rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Preschool - Kindergarten
A very recent addition to Eric Carle's body of work, the boy in The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse was inspired by artist Franz Marc. Marc was a German abstract artist whose work was banned during the Nazi regime, the era in which Carle attended high school in Germany.

Children from diverse backgounds will be able to connect to the artist. Rather than appearing as white, african american, or latino, he appears to represent a little of each i n his skin color. He also has long hair, probably repr...more
Becky
It's a new Eric Carle just in time for the holiday season! This is nothing new, but would work well in a storytime about colors or animals. Bright, large-scale collages with few words, and a "no wrong way to be creative" message with an added note about an artist who DID paint a controversial blue horse in 1911 -- Franz Marc.
Suz
I enjoyed the Youtube video of Eric Carle talking about his inspiration for this book. The book would be wonderful to share with children along with the video, and then talk about who inspires us.
Mary Lee
It's a deceptively simple book, but the information in the back about the artist Franz Marc and Eric Carle's early art training make it amazing.
Claudia Bell
I would have loved to give this book five stars because I love the idea behind it: make young children, especially aspiring artists, think outside the box. I also love the explanation at the end of the book that ties Eric Carle's artwork to Franz Marc's. One can definitely see that Eric Carle was inspired by the artwork of the expressionists. However, since this is a wonderful book to bring a bit of art history to the child, I would have liked to see more text with the unconventional animals cre...more
Maggie KutsBorg
A book that flexes to whatever your needs are. It's practically wordless, since the text is so simple and so directly related to the images. I extended interactivity by naming the animal and asking the children to tell me what color it was. We talked about some science on the polar bear page (how polar bears are white to match the snow where they live), we made lots of silly animal noises, and we did lots of color observations (the best was a little girl who picked out the small spots of blue sh...more
Robin
This book inspired this week's craft for our blue-themed storytime. It's a little confusing but very fun to see these two-page spreads of various animals portrayed in the 'wrong' colors. When I first saw this book, I thought Eric Carlewas writing about himself. But this book is about an artist named Franz Marc and there's a great author's note at the back of the book about him and about what inspired Carle to create this book.
Amber
What a beautiful book. For children, it is colorful and fun. For adults, it is about learning something new. Most everyone is familiar with Eric Carle’s illustrations even if they have not cracked open one of his picture books. With beautiful brush strokes and painted on texture, they are truly phenomenal. Like many of Carle’s books, The Artist Who Pained a Blue Horse, teaches children about different animals through art, but in this book the animals are all the wrong colors which will astonish...more
Susan Mann
The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse is one of the most stunning children's books I have ever seen. The author, is Eric Carle, you may recognise him from one of his pervious books being The Hungry Catapiller. I remember this as a child, it was one of my favourites when I was very young, so it was one I introduced to my children when they were very young. When I heard about this book I had to get it. This is his first brand new picture book in four years.
The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse is abo...more
Tasha
A young artist paints a blue horse running against a yellow sky, then continues to paint animals in amazing colors. There is a red crocodile, a yellow cow, a pink rabbit, and an orange elephant. The book speaks powerfully and simply to the spirit of creativity, the ability to change the world through art, and the right to express yourself. This becomes even more clear as the book ends with Carle’s own childhood experiences in Nazi Germany where he first saw the forbidden work of Franz Marc who p...more
Ezekiel
The story *behind* this book is to me, far more interesting/better than the book itself. The book itself is just pictures of non-normatively colored animals done in Eric Carle's (admittedly iconic) style with the words "I am an artist and I paint..." followed just by the words describing what is on each page (aka, a blue horse, pink bunny, etc.). Not that inspiring, eh?

However the story *behind* it is:

Eric Carle was born in the US but grew up in Nazi Germany. The artist who is referred to by the...more
Eve
Jul 15, 2012 Eve rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: mariam
My four-year-old daughter has loved Eric Carle all her life (and I've discovered his work through her!), but this book was a disappointment for us both. Although Mr. Carle's motivation is to encourage children to be creative and dare to paint blue horses and polka-dot donkeys, the prose is too 'young' for anyone older than a young toddler, and young toddlers may not understand that animals of such colors DON'T exist. (At that age, my daughter was more interested in checking out the contents of h...more
Kylie
Oct 22, 2012 Kylie added it
Shelves: habelldigital
Summary:
Learning different colors may be challenging but in the book, “The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse,” learning is exciting. Each page is beautifully illustrated with different animals and each animal has a different color.

Audience:
The book is targeted for toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergartners, who love to paint. I think this book does a great job for targeting this audience because it catches the eye of the young readers with the amazing colors.

Appeal:
The appeal is meant for young...more
Esti
Inspired by Franz Marc's paintings of blue horses, Eric Carle has created a beautiful a book celebrating artistic creativity. The story is simple: a young artist paints animals in various unnatural colors, affirming, "I am a good artist." Carle's vivid tissue paper collages are saturated with color and contain an almost three-dimensional depth, keeping the reader's eye on the page long after the few words have been read. A brief afterword gives an account of Franz Marc and his revolutionary artw...more
Mark
Eric Carle was born in the United States in 1929 but spent his boyhood in Germany. At that time, the repressive Nazi regime forbade creating or displaying modern, expressionistic or abstract art, which they called "degenerate". But one day, when Eric was twelve or thirteen years old, his art teacher, Herr Krauss, secretly showed him some of the forbidden art. "I like the freedom and the looseness in the way you draw and paint", he said, "but I am only permitted to teach realistic art". And, poin...more
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Eric Carle (born June 25, 1929) is a children's book author and illustrator, most famous for his book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which has been translated into over 30 languages. Since The Very Hungry Caterpillar was published in 1969, Eric Carle has illustrated more than seventy books, many best sellers, most of which he also wrote, and more than 71 million copies of his books have sold around...more
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