The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse Book Poster Image
Bold, beautiful book is sure to fire up kids’ creativity.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

A note at the end of the book tells about artist Franz Marc, whose work inspired the book, and how Carle became acquainted with his banned work as a child in Nazi Germany. That bit of history may be over the heads of young readers, but it’s a jumping-off point for families to talk about art and its influence.

Positive Messages

Carle celebrates creativity and taking pride in your efforts -- no matter how unconventional they may be. Art, he shows simply, is great fun.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The artist produces a series of inventive works, each more outlandish than the last, and proudly proclaims himself "a good artist." He’s confident, creative, and prolific.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that they should have art materials at the ready when they share this charming book with their kids. Eric Carle aims to inspire young artists to unleash their creativity, and the call is impossible to resist.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

An artist stands before a canvas and paints a galloping blue horse, followed by an array of fantastic creatures including a pink rabbit, a green lion, a black polar bear, and a polka-dotted donkey. At the end, he stands by his horse painting and declares: "I am a good artist."

Is it any good?

Eric Carle uses his familiar collage technique to wonderful effect. Each page bursts with color and texture, and the animal lope, leap, and pose in vivid compositions. Text is minimal and declarative, focusing readers’ attention on the joyfully inventive artwork and the artist’s pride in his work.

The book’s simplicity offers plenty of opportunity for families to explore the book’s themes on their own, from talking about how art can inspire to creating your own artwork.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about creativity and imagination. Talk about how the animals are unlike anything you might see in real life, and ask your child what crazy colors he might paint.

  • This book was inspired by the work of Franz Marc, whose Blue Horse I is reproduced in the end pages. Look at Marc’s horse and then at the one painted by the boy in the story, and talk about their similarities and differences. Explain how the author was inspired to create this book, and encourage your child to create artwork inspired by the book.

  • Carle creates his collages using hand-painted papers. Look closely at the illustrations to see how he creates textures by dragging objects through the paint. Get out some paint, brushes, and paper and encourage your child to experiment. Offer craft sticks, toothpicks, cotton swaps, or even toy cars to make designs on the painted paper.

Book details

For kids who love picture books and animals

Our editors recommend

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate