The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle

The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse is a deceptively simple book that, on first read, seems to be nothing more than a collection of boldly colourful animals purportedly painted by the boy in the book, who declares on the very first page: “I am an artist.”

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What both kids and grown-ups will soon realise — and which is hinted at in the title of the book — however, is that none of the animals in the book look like they are ‘supposed to’, thanks to the deliberately ‘wrong’ colours chosen for the paintings. Thus, we see such unorthodox creations as a blue horse, an orange elephant, a yellow cow, a red crocodile, etc. — all topped off by the boy’s confident pronouncement at the end of the book: “I am a good artist” — a simple yet powerful reaffirmation that all aspiring artists who have ever harboured any self-doubt need to hear, reassuring them that it is OK to express themselves and to do something different than everyone else.

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While this is a particularly great book for little ones who are beginning to dabble in art, anyone else who tends to worry too much about other people’s opinions, or play it ‘too safe’, should read this book, if only to be encouraged to step out of their comfort zones and, most of all, to be true to themselves.

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