Friday, September 25, 2015

Vincent Paints his House

Vincent Paints His House
by Tedd Arnold
32 pages, ages 4-99
Holiday House, 2015

Another book I would choose by its cover!

theme: art, imagination

When the book opens it's time to paint the house. Problem is, Vincent can't decide what color to paint it.

"Maybe I will just paint it white," said Vincent.

..."Stop!" said the spider. "This is my house and I like red."

Vincent agrees that red is nice, but then caterpillar butts in and says it's his house and he likes yellow. Yellow is nice too... but animal after animal insist that the house be painted a different color. What's a post-impressionist Dutch painter to do?

What I like LOVE about this book: It's fun. Entertaining. Educational. I love that when Vincent says he'll "just paint the house white", the colors on his pallet include snow, ivory, titanium, and cream. Yellows include amber and ochre, reds everything from peach to cadmium, and blues include my favorite: cyan.

I love that he visualizes his newly painted house as part of one of his paintings, and that as he paints he gets blobs and drops of color on his shirt, jeans, beard.... And I really love the last page: an homage to Starry Night - but featuring his humble abode instead of the town.

And did I say I love the cover?

Beyond the Book :

Go on a color field trip. Head to a store that sells paints and look for the displays with paint color samples. It's fun to see how many colors of white they offer, or yellow, blue, green. Collect a rainbow (if you can). White isn't called "white" - it's oatmeal or eggwhite or cream. What cool names are there for colors? Then go on a field trip outside and see how many different shades and hues of each color you can find. You might want to take a camera.

Mix up some colors and paint your own house - but on paper. Draw a picture of your house and paint it. What color - or colors - would you choose? If you can't find the right color, mix up one of your own. Check out some historically painted homes, or  these houses

Learn about Vincent Van Gogh. You have probably seen his paintings in books - or even a museum. Check out this gallery of his paintings. And if you have a chance to look at one of his works, take a close look at his brush strokes and a distant look at how the colors come together. 

 Today is PPBF (perfect picture book Friday), an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture BooksReview copy from the publisher.


  1. I really like that cover -- an artist bigger than life. What a beautiful story to introduce children to Vincent Van Gogh. This really sounds like a great classroom book.

  2. I am always on the look out for great picture books about artists and this sounds such a vivid, humorous way to introduce kids to Van Gogh.

  3. What a great new angle to writing about Van Gogh! And I love your activity idea of heading to the paint store Sue. The names of the colors are always a hoot!

  4. Ted Arnold's books are always so much fun! And I have a thing for van Gogh (like, a thing, not just admiration for his work!) so I will be looking for this one - thanks!

  5. Wow! What a great idea. I've got to find this one.

  6. This sounds like a wonderful book and a great way to introduce kids to Van Gogh's artwork. I love the cover and look forward to checking it out. Thanks for sharing. :)

  7. I h what a perfect book for grade 1. I'm adding it to my Amazon wish list!