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Reviews for The noisy paint box : the colors and sounds of Kandinsky's abstract art

by by Barb Rosenstock ; illustrated by Mary GrandPre

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

This impressive biography of Vasily Kandinsky highlights the unusual connection between his art and the music that inspired it. As a young boy in Russia, Vasily--nicknamed Vasya--glumly studies "bookfuls of math, science, and history." His heavy eyelids droop; he sits "stiff and straight" while adults drone on. Then his aunt gives him a paint box, and everything changes. As Vasya mixes one hue with another, he hears the colors making sounds. "Whisper" is set in a faux handwriting type; "HISS" is also set in a different type from the primary text. Vasya listens as "swirling colors trilllike an orchestra tuning up." Rosenstock explains the mixing of Vasya's senses--synesthesia, in contemporary terms--through the shapes he paints: "Crunching crimson squares," "[w]hispering charcoal lines" and "a powerful navy rectangle that vibrated deeply like the lowest cello strings." Using acrylic paint and paper collage, Grandpr emphasizes the blending of two arts by showing Vasya's paintbrush-holding arms aloft as if he were conducting and by letting Vasya's colors waft upward from his palette, making curlicues in the air, with music staffs and notes interwoven. As Vasya grows up, he faces resistance to his nonrepresentational work, including the repeated interrogation, "What's it supposed to be?"--but his magnificent, abstract, sound-inspired paintings won't be repressed. A rich, accomplished piece about a pioneer in the art world. (author's note, painting reproductions, sources) (Picture book/biography. 5-10)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Pioneering abstract artist Vasily Kandinsky experienced "colors as sounds, and sounds as colors," a neurological condition called synesthesia. Concentrating primarily on Kandinsky's childhood, Rosenstock embellishes known events with dialogue. GrandPri does a fine job showing color and sound as abstractions while presenting the artist and his surroundings realistically. An author's note provides more information about the artist and four reproductions. Websites. Bib. (c) Copyright 2014. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.