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Painting the Wind

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Gr 1-4-A budding artist waits for the return of the summer painters to his island, and one by one they arrive, each with the tools of their trade and a dog. The young narrator spends time with each one-the flower painter, the painter of portraits, still-life painter, and the landscape painter-observing, learning, and finally challenging himself to paint the wind. The prose flows with the relaxed rhythms of summer. Evocative descriptions bring life and individuality to each artist. One "loves the names of his paints" like Terracotta and Scarlet Lake, another loves faces, a third artist loves "sea glass" and "jingle shells," and the last loves the moon. All of them observe the world around them with awe. Schneider's masterful paintings are light-splashed gems, and her dog portraits are particularly appealing. From cover to cover, this is a celebration of art and an amazing marriage of text and illustration.-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

This elegantly conceived picture book explores an artist's process through the eyes of a boy living year-round on an island that attracts painters in the summers. "I paint all winter long. And I wait," the boy narrator begins. Schneider, in her children's book debut, shows a barren seascape on the left and an inset of the boy at his easel on the right. From the outset, the boy admits his challenge: "As hard as I try, I cannot paint the wind." As the painters return, the mother-and-daughter author team eloquently describes their various styles through the eyes of the perceptive budding painter ("The painter of flowers wakes at dawn when the island light first comes"), and Schneider adjusts her brushstrokes to reflect the works the narrator describes. The flower painter dabs with impressionistic strokes, more interested in layering color than in the details. "The painter of faces is late to wake," and Schneider renders these paintings in studied strokes more akin to Delacroix or Rembrandt. The boy also understands the way that painter and painting become one: "When the landscape painter paints the moon he forgets who he is, he forgets his wife and children." With the landscape painter, the boy learns at last to paint the wind. As an added plus, Schneider shows the boy's painting, which hangs alongside all of the other artists' work in a showing at summer's end. This thoughtful volume conveys a respect for and understanding of the many ways the creative process manifests itself, and makes art seem accessible for children of all ages. Ages 4-8. (May) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.

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