Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse” as Want to Read:
The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  2,114 ratings  ·  251 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
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Rea There is no story here. On the first page, you're introduced to The Artist, and then you see the animals he's been drawing (the first being a blue…moreThere is no story here. On the first page, you're introduced to The Artist, and then you see the animals he's been drawing (the first being a blue horse). So you can make up your own story as you go along.

All the illustrations are done as an homage to the artist Franz Marc, who inspired Eric Carle.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,114 ratings  ·  251 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Mar 13, 2012 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 The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse. I have always loved Eric Carle's artwork, and the illustrations are indeed lovely, evocative, exuberant, pure Eric Carle magic. But no, I do not really find the featured narrative all that interesting and engaging in and of itself (and I also do not really see exactly how the presented, featured text of The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse is or can even be remotely regarded as an actual homage to Franz ...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
Sep 14, 2011 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
Jun 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Concept Books About Colors, Animals and the Creative Process
Apparently intended as a tribute to expressionist painter Marc Franz, to whose work Eric Carle was secretly introduced as a young boy living in Nazi Germany - Franz's artwork was considered "degenerate" by the Nazis, and was forbidden, but Carle's teacher took a great risk, and showed it to him anyway - The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse follows a young artist as he creates a series of animals in vivid colors. Unconcerned with finding the "right" color, he creates a blue horse, a red crocodile, ...more
Oct 19, 2011 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 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 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.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Nov 23, 2011 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.
Mar 13, 2016 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.
Apr 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Last week our theme was favorite authors.
This week it is colors.
This book was a great segway from last week (when we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar) into this one. It is another gem by Eric Carle. Such a simple book but such a lovely message. I remind the kids as we are reading it that the pictures are 'paintings' it is not about the absurd, and I conclude the story saying 'The author wants you to know that as an artist you can be as creative as you'd like".
Robin Rockman
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Fun book to inspire creativity before my Let's Get Messy program.
Beverly Kennett
Describes being an artist.
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic tool to show what beautiful works of art can be produced if you let you imagination run free. Bonus points for the additional biographical information for the adult reader.
Dec 14, 2011 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
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
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 12, 2011 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
Feb 26, 2012 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 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
Katie Fitzgerald
Dec 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Read at an Off-site Preschool Class Visit on 1/11/12:

Read at Baby/Toddler Story Time on 1/31/12:

Read at Drop-In Story Time on 8/28/12:

Read at Drop-In Story Time on 2/19/13:

Read at Toddler Lap Time on 7/26/13:
Oct 04, 2012 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
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.
Jun 12, 2016 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!
Mary Lee
Oct 30, 2011 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.
Oct 15, 2011 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.
Mar 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
A very bright and colorful book, with a simple basic storyline. I enjoyed reading about the author on the flap as well.
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Franz Marc was a representative figure of the German Expressionism. Because he liked to paint animals in unusual colours, sometimes unrealistic, the traditionalists often criticised his work; the Nazis considered him a degenerate artist. But Franz Marc trusted his artistic call and continued to paint animals, in a simple yet full of emotions style.

The painter was killed in World War I, during the Battle of Verdun. In the pocket of his uniform there was found a book with several drawings that the
Leslie Putnam
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
This book is a historical fiction picture book about an artist who painted different colored animals. Each page has a picture of a different animal painted with a different color. At the end of the book there is an excerpt that talks about this artist. His name is Franz Marc, born in Germany in 1880. He is famous for the Blue Horse painting painted in 1911. He loved to paint animals in bright and unusual colors, an art that traditional critics disapproved of. Eric Carle (the author) also shares ...more
Jennifer Merino
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is written in the first person point of view. The main character is a boy who claims to be an artist. He shows what he paints and he paints various animals but their color is not the same as in real life. For example, he paints a blue horse and a red crocodile. Then he claims again that he is a good artist. The direction in which the animals in each painting are facing alternates with every other page. Each background is different depending on the animal and at the end, the boy is look ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Blue Chicken
  • Say What?
  • Lots of Dots
  • Mousterpiece
  • Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow?
  • The Wheels on the Bus
  • I Spy With My Little Eye
  • A Dog Is a Dog
  • Butterfly Butterfly: A Book of Colors
  • Duckie's Rainbow
  • Please Take Me for a Walk
  • Blue Sky
  • Red Sled
  • My Heart Is Like a Zoo
  • Windblown
  • Little White Rabbit
  • Dinosaur Dig!
  • An Annoying ABC
See similar books…
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