By: Sherrill S. Cannon
Illustrated by: Kalpart
Publisher: Strategic Book Publishing
Publication Date: January 2014
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: July 28, 2014
Have you ever wandered into an art show, spotted a 'modern' painting, with blobs of color going every which way, and wondered what made it a 'work of art'? In this delightful story, we see how one fingerpainting found it's way to a grown-up art show, adorned with a blue ribbon.
My Fingerpaint Masterpiece begins in a school art class. Our young protagonist is given a project - use fingerpaint to create something that you see in your imagination. The aspiring artist dabs some green on the paper, then some red, but before the project is complete, the bell rings. The unfinished picture is carefully packed up to bring home, but on the way, a gust of wind speeds by and blows the painting away.
Our young artist watches as the painting floats away, high up in the sky. Where will it land? As the wind dies down, the painting gently lands right in front of the local art dealer's store, The Rainbow Connection. In fact, it didn't just land in front of the store, but on top of a pile of paintings an artist was gathering together to submit to the store. This artist doesn't notice the addition to his pile and while the young child would like to see what will happen, it's about to rain AND it's dinnertime. Better hurry home!
Later that week, Mom and child head to the mall where (surprise!) there's an art exhibit and what should be prominently displayed but the fingerpainting, matted, framed, and about to receive a blue ribbon! Wow! The reactions of judges and spectators are priceless, with many people trying to figure out the message in the painting. Beauty definitely is in the 'eye of the beholder'!!!
This book is fun, fun, fun! Told in perfectly flowing rhyme, the text never feels forced:
Then right in the middle, I put a red blob
'Cause I wasn't quite sure how to best draw my dog;
But then the bell rang, so I put things away
And never got back to my picture that day.
The story moves quickly and manages to impart an important message too. While our young artist wasn't quite finished with the 'masterpiece' and did intend to make that red blob a dog, the judges and people watching the judging process saw things much differently. The judges saw "...creative texture and brush strokes ... its deep inner meaning ... quite clear." The crowd cheers while our young artist wonders why people see a flower, or the sky, when it's just the dog. A nice additional touch to My Fingerpaint Masterpiece is that the main character is never identified. A girl? A boy? The reader can imagine it either way; a nice fit for young readers. Finally, the artwork, by Kalpart (not one person but rather a group of illustrators who specialize in children's books), is cheerful, vibrant (I LOVE the actual 'masterpiece' - heck, I'd hang it in my office), and fits the story perfectly. All around, this is a 5-star 'masterpiece.'
Quill says: This book is pure magic! Inspire your children with this wonderful tale of a 'Fingerpaint Masterpiece.'