Book: Louise Loves Art
Author: Kelly Light
Age Range: 4-8
Louise Loves Art by Kelly Light is about a little girl who loves to draw and who also loves her copycat little brother, Art. As is evident from the cover image, Louise Loves Art is a bright, cheerful tale. Louise is occupied with her drawing, determined to produce a masterpiece. She largely ignores Art's attempts to gain her attention (though in a benign way). But when Louise leaves her masterpiece lying on the floor, within range of toddler Art, well, the situation gets a bit sticky. Happily, however, Louise is astute enough in the end discern which Art she loves best, and respond accordingly.
Light's text captures the tone of busy kindergartner (or someone in that approximate age range). Louise is enthusiastic about everything. Like this:
"I love art!
It's my imagination on the outside."
"I've done it.
So fierce! So feline! So fantastic...
But it's the illustrations (black Prismacolor pencils and Photoshop) that make Louise Loves Art a delight. Louise is round-faced and spiky-banged, with enormous red glasses. Not quite realistic, but utterly likable. Her exaggerated expressions and postures capture her excitement and (when her masterpiece is cut up) dismay.
Light uses minimal color in the illustrations, but highlights important things (like the glasses) with red. She dots each page with details, like the humorous sketches on Louise's wall (many signed with a red L), and the red glasses that Art draws and cuts out (to be like his sister). In the hallway, unremarked, readers may notice a picture of a younger Louise, still with red glasses, holding a baby Art. A subtle hint that yes, she does love her brother.
I'm not sure that the ending of Louise Loves Art is 100% realistic, but it is sure to make readers (and parents) smile. Louise Loves Art celebrates the joy of creation, and also celebrates sibling relationships. Reviewed from a library copy, this one is now on my wish list. Highly recommended.
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (@HarperChildrens)
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
Source of Book: Library copy, checked out for Round 1 Cybils consideration in Fiction Picture Books. All opinions are my own.
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