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The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  1,702 Ratings  ·  216 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
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 4th 2011 by Philomel Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Children Books About Art
32nd out of 131 books — 108 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Feb 21, 2016 Manybooks rated it liked it
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
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
Lisa Vegan
Nov 23, 2011 Lisa Vegan rated it really liked it
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
Oct 19, 2011 Dolly rated it really liked it
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
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
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
Feb 17, 2012 Randie D. Camp, M.S. rated it really liked it
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.
Dec 14, 2011 Carolynne rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
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.
Mar 13, 2016 Maria rated it really liked it
The good - the 20 month old LOVES this book. She learned all the animal names and noises by demanding to know what the animals in this book were saying.

The bad - She learned the word fox and really likes foxes, but it doesn't sound like fox when she says it. Loudly. In public.
Sep 20, 2011 Barbara rated it really liked it
Shelves: ncbla, picture-book
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
Matthew Hunter
Fairly typical Carle - vibrant colors, artwork that young ones love to look at, simple narrative. My primary beef with The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse is Carle's attempt at passing the book off as an homage to artist Franz Marc. Not so much. Just because Marc titled one of his works Blue Horse I doesn't mean someone can paint a blue horse that in no way resembles Marc's blue horse, and then start throwing about fun French words like homage in connection with the work. Then, on top of the hom ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Nov 23, 2011 Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance rated it it was amazing
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
a red crocodile

I just can't think logically about an Eric Carle book. I love it. Unconditionally.
Dec 15, 2011 David rated it liked it
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
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
Oct 27, 2011 VegasGal rated it it was ok
Shelves: children, read-2011
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
Oct 08, 2012 Veronica rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 26, 2012 Janet rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 20, 2012 Amy Hafner rated it really liked it
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
Jun 21, 2016 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Beautiful artwork. Not part of the story, but the afterword gives the story of Carle's experience growing up in Nazi Germany that brings new meaning to the simple text. Perfect choice for art/history lessons!
Apr 29, 2015 Aidan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tch_lrn-307
This book is about a boy who starts off by telling the readers that he is an artist. The readers have nothing to go on, so we all watch. As the pages go on, we see that the artist is painting many animals that we all know different colors. For example, the artist paints a bunny rabbit bright pink. This seems like it would be unusual but at the end of the book and at the end of the animals, the artist tells us readers that he is a good artist. The overall message of this story is very strong. It ...more
Elizabeth Murphy
This children's concept picture book is an inspiration for children. It teaches children that it is okay to be creative and express their imagination. In this beautifully illustrated children's book, there are so many bright colors that attract the reader. This type of book definitely attracts children with how unusual it is. Many children like to color with their favorite color, but adults tend to color more realistically. They make a horse black or brown or white. They color cows with black or ...more
Paul Farbman
Mar 23, 2014 Paul Farbman rated it it was amazing
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
Heather Wright
May 02, 2015 Heather Wright rated it it was amazing
"The Artist who Painted A Blue Horse" is for children of the ages 6-15. I read this book in ebook format. The book is about Eric Carle the famous artiest who teaches children how to express their art any way the feel like it. Rather if its coloring animals different colors that they normally are not. Some of his famous drawings are in this book. I really enjoyed this book. I loves how he encouraged children to think out of the box and to encourage them when drawing. I also enjoyed some of his fa ...more
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.
Mama Bibliosoph
Apr 15, 2016 Mama Bibliosoph rated it really liked it
What we love about this book:

-Animal characters.
-The art is special and interesting, but not confusing.
-Carle's collage technique can be used to inspire collage-making (cutting and pasting).
-Lots of smart, deliberate repetition of key words, phrases, and story patterns help children track what's happening, motivating them to attend. I believe kids feel secure (safe even) and proud of themselves when they can anticipate the next line.
-Carle signals to children when the book is about to transition
Denice Hein
Jan 30, 2015 Denice Hein rated it really liked it
After the black and white graphic novel and before the art book, Mya may need some color infused into her. I choose Eric Carle’s autobiographically picture book to be part of the bundle to illustrate some special animals. It will bridge nicely to My Art book. Not knowing Mya I am concerned that she will scoff at a picture book as a 4th grader. So I will sell this book as a study of an artist and his art.

This is independent reading for Mya and is the primary picture book component to the bundle.
Oct 15, 2011 Suz rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-kid-lit
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
Oct 30, 2011 Mary Lee rated it really liked it
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
Jul 17, 2014 Maggie KutsBorg rated it really liked it
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
Jan 04, 2015 Kristy rated it it was amazing
We could not have found a more perfect book to read to our 5-year-old artist. He does things "his own way" in art, and that is the story of this book. It is Eric Carle's tribute to the artist Franz Marc, whose work was banned by the Nazi regime in Germany where Carle grew up. If it weren't for a teacher breaking the law and showing young Carle some of Marc's artwork, we might never have seen any of Carle's works, because, as he says in the back of the book, "My green lion, polka-dotted donkey an ...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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