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Vasya's Noisy Paint Box: How Vasily Kandinsky's Ears Invented Abstract Art

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  1,230 ratings  ·  269 reviews
In this exuberant celebration of creativity, Barb Rosenstock and Mary Grandpre tell the fascinating story of Vasily Kandinsky, one of the very first painters of abstract art. Throughout his life, Kandinsky experienced colors as sounds, and sounds and colors--and bold, groundbreaking works burst forth from his noisy paint box.
Hardcover
Published February 1st 2014 by Not Avail
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(showing 1-30 of 2,658)
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Laura

Every single person sees the world in a different way. I learned that lesson early on. One of my brothers is color blind, which fascinated me to no end as a child. I bugged, hassled, and quizzed him every chance I got—What color is that? And that? What about this? Haha….He refuses to answer any color related questions to this day because of me. :)

The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky's Abstract Art tells the story of how Vasya Kandinsky saw the world and how abstract art came t
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Courtney
I really like the illustrations. GrandPré definitely has a unique style. The two-page picture of Vasya at the opera is one of my favourite scenes, as well as the one of him standing in his studio. I'll definitely have to look up his art - the examples shown in the book are really interesting.

Rebecca Honeycutt
Oh man. SO GOOD.

This fittingly colorful and exuberant picture book biography of Kandinsky is pitched just right for young readers. GrandPre captures the stunning, busy, dynamic quality of Kandinsky's art with astonishing panache. (Seriously, you just want to stare at these illustrations and let the colors seep into your soul.) Rosenstock's simple but deeply expressive text bursts with lively onomatopoeia, underscored by the changing typefaces. The author's note at the end reproduces some of Kand
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Linda
This is called historical fiction, but it still seems to be a great introduction for younger students to learn some beginning information about abstract art Kandinsky in particular. It is a gorgeous book, proper and rather un-colorful pictures showing the beginning and proper beginning of the artist’s life. He actually began knowing he “heard” colors early in his life, but gave them up to go to law school. Kandinsky was a lawyer! What is described reminds me of Wendy Mass’s book, A Mango-Shaped ...more
Virginia
This beautiful picture book written by Barb Rosenstock tells the story of abstract artist Vasily Kandinsky. Rosenstock's prose reminds one of lyrical music Kandinsky may have listened to as he attended the opera with his aunt while a young man. The story helps the young reader to understand more fully how art is not just pictures of "houses and trees", but rather the expression of a person and his/her understanding and portrayal of the world around him or her. Mary Grandpre's illustrations are r ...more
Adrienne Furness
Winner of a 2015 Caldecott Honor. Inspired me to wrap my mind around some Kandinsky. Inspiring in general.
Alyson
This book made me want to paint, listen to music, go see some Kandinskys... I hope it does the same for kids.
Amy
Popularity/appeal rating: 3.5

Quality rating: 5

In a one-sentence nutshell:
This is a beautiful book. It made me wish there were more children's books about synesthesia, because it's such a cool phenomenon. Personally, I don't really like Kandinsky's artwork, which makes me feel like an uncultured twit, especially since I was an art history major in college. But this book opened my mind up, at least a little bit - when I look at his paintings as visual expressions of sound, they make a little more
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Rena
This book kind of fell in my lap. As in, I saw it on a list that had won an award and thought. Hey, let's read this. Kandinsky had a rare condition called synesthesia. He could hear colors. Well, after reading up on it. I realized that I am not weird (weirder than I always thought) and I have a different form of it! I've always thought that certain numbers are different colors. For example, the number 5 to me is green and the number 4 is red and 9 is purple. I could go on...but...who knew you co ...more
Fanny
Vasya Kandinsky was a obedient, well behaved, typical Russian child. He spent his childhood studying math, science, and history as his parents expected from him. However, he felt as if something was missing until the day his aunt gave him a small wooden paint box. Vasya felt as if the colors would speak to him; he could heard the brush swish and the colors rhythmically twirl as notes in a song. He was full of excitement by looking at how the colors turned into figures in a canvas, forming beauti ...more
Dolly
This is a wonderful biography about Vasily Kandinsky and shows his determination to create artwork the way he wanted to, despite pressures from family, teachers, and friends to create more traditional pieces. The narrative is very interesting and focuses on the way the colors sang to him and really inspired him to create a new type of art - abstract art.

The illustrations are marvelous and we loved the way Mary GrandPré depicted the colors singing to Vasya and the way music brought an array of c
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Tasha
Enter the amazing world of abstract art with this picture book biography of Kandinsky. Vasya Kandinsky was raised to be a very proper young Russian boy. Then his Auntie gave him a box of paints and he started to hear colors as sounds. No one else could hear the sounds, but to Vasya they were a symphony that he could paint. Vasya grew up and stopped painting. He still heard the colors around him, but he was going to be a lawyer. When he attended the opera one evening, Vasya saw the colors emerge ...more
Jeimy
I have always been fascinated by Kandinsky's works and had tried, without success, to try to interpret many of his pieces. Now that this book has let me know about his synesthesia, I am even more fascinated by what he painted and feel less stressed out by my inability to comprehend his work. Although I liked the story, I found the illustrations to dark and a stark contrast to the vibrant colors I am used to seeing in Kandinsky work.
Marci
So I read this on a recommendation from a children's librarian I worked with, she thought it should have won the Caldecott and I can see why. The illustrations are phenomenal. The story is told in such a way as to introduce kids to the concept of abstract art as well as the importance of being who you are.
Meganators
This is historical fiction in picture book format- based on fact, but has dialogue that's made up. Fun read--not too text-heavy and has great illustrations about the abstract artist Kandinsky. He had a form of synesthesia - he could hear colors and see music.
Jesse
I've always been fascinated by synesthesia, and seeing it represented by Mary GrandPré is extraordinary. I've never been a big fan of abstract art, but even I want to see what music looks like on canvas.
Cathy Blackler
Rosenstock's fictionalized account of Kadinsky's determination to listen to his dreams works nicely with Mary GrandPre's striking illustrations. Nice back matter provides readers with additional information.
Michelle
Great picture book biography. I loved the illustrations and that the artist used mixed media in some of book. The author's note was very informative and provided pictures of Kandinsky's art.
Dina
A fascinating portrait of Vasya Kandinsky and his art. I enjoyed learning about Kandinsky's early life and his "extra" sense that enabled him to hear colors and see music in colors. It was this ability that led him to create works that came to be known as abstract art, capturing the feelings created by the combined music and colors. GrandPre has painted interesting illustrations to accompany the story, incorporating some of Kandinsky's art into the later pages. The final pages provide additional ...more
Shu Xiao
Sources and further information are listed at the end of the book.
Alyse Hayden
This book is a great book to show children to be themselves and to be creative however they want to be. It shows children that everyone thinks differently and has different interests. Even if they have an interest for something that is not widely accepted, they should still practice that interest. This book also shows how amazing art can be, not only creating it but also looking at it as well as listening to it sing and watching it dance. I think this book could be a great inspiration for childr ...more
Amara Reitz
Bringing to life the story of Wassily Kandinsky, the world’s first abstract artist, illustrator Mary GrandPre uses incredible color and depth to her paintings in order to attract young readers. In the story, Vasya was a well behaved boy who did well in school and, much like most of us, studied and instrument that fascinated his parents more than him. Vasya found life very boring, until one day when his aunt gave him a paint set. Vasya, confused and timid at first, soon blossomed into a talented ...more
Lonnie Martin Jr.

For my Caldecott choice, I chose “The Noisy Paint Box”. This book is very well illustrated with very artistic detail. The illustrations are abstract which goes well with the story. The illustration do a good job of showing how Vasya feels about the noisy paint box. Some of the paintings somewhat jump off the page, and as the story goes on the illustrations are more intense, to go along with Vasya’s excitement about colors. This book is about a boy named Vasya a yound Russian boy who is well beha
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Samantha
The Noisy Paint Box by Barb Rosenstock is a non-fiction Caldecott winning book about young artist Vasya Kandinsky discovering his love of painting. Kandinsky was brought up to be “a proper Russian boy” that should be well educated and appreciate art. His Aunt gives him a paint box palette to use, and he begins to hear the sounds of the colors as he paints. His family disapproves of his artwork and says he needs to take “a proper art class”. After living the life that was expected on him Kandinsk ...more
Brennan Chandler
Caldecott Honor
Copyright 2014

The Noisy Paint Box tells the story of a young boy growing up learning to be a proper Russian. Little did he know that being proper would help him. Vasya received a gift that would change his life; this noisy paint box gave him hope. As he grew older, he ignored the paint box, but after revisiting the orchestra, the music reminded him of what art can do to the world. Vasya began creating abstract art and invited the world to view it. This is a wonderful Book with ama
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KayLeigh Nava
Summary: "The Noisy Paint Box" is about a Russian boy named Vasya Kandinsky. The story starts off with Vasya filling his days with studying, practicing the piano, being straight and stiff, and perfectly polite. This all changed when his aunt gave him a small wooden paint box. She wanted the boy to appreciate art. When Vasya started mixing the colors he heard a HISS. The sounds grew louder and louder. The colors sounded like a symphony. Vasya painted till the colors went silent. He went to his fa ...more
Colleen
In my opinion, this book should have won the Caldecott award this year. It weaves a beautiful tale of Vasya Kandinsky, a boy growing up in a proper Russian household and learning all the classical subjects and how to behave and so on and so forth, who is one day given a set of paints by an Auntie who has decided that proper Russian boys must also have an appreciation for the arts. From the moment Vasya lays eyes on the paints, he begins to hear the different colors in his head, and to paint how ...more
Mary Birky Collier
Level: Primary
Rationale: Natalie has a clear interest in Russia, as I stated in my book review on Russia: Exploring Countries. However, since that book is clearly a non-fiction book full of informational (but wonderful ) facts, The Noisy Paint Box offers a beautiful contrast in the story of Vasya Kandinsky, one Russian boy, and his discovery of his love of painting—and the arts—in the midst of being raised in an apparently strict, traditional Russian household and study to be a lawyer. Natalie a
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Michelle McBeth
This is the story of the life of the abstract artist Vasily Kandinsky. It begins when he was a boy living in an upper class Russian home. He has to learn all of the typical things expected of a proper gentleman. It isn't until his aunt gives him his first paint box that a new world is opened to him. He hears the colors and paints them as he hears them (he has a condition called synesthesia in which he hears colors). No one understands his art though. He goes on to become a lawyer, but later come ...more
Samantha
This look at Kandinsky's formative years and his path to creating the art that would become his legacy is simply fascinating. It so perfectly captures the idea that art is an emotional experience for both the creator and the viewer that Kandinsky recognized from an early age.

The text is so full of descriptive language that it gives readers a view of the world similar to the way a person with synesthesia might experience it.

The ending invites readers to explore Kandinsky's artwork and form their
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2015 Reading Chal...: The Noisy Paint Box 1 11 Mar 04, 2015 02:23PM  
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