Monday, March 15, 2010

There Was an Old Man who Painted the Sky

Sloat, Teri. 2009. THERE WAS AN OLD MAN WHO PAINTED THE SKY. Ill. by Stefano Vitale. New York: Henry Holt. ISBN 9780805067514 [Suggested Grade Levels K- 3]

A young girl looks up at the paintings in the Altimira cave and begins to wonder how an old man “painted the sky – its up so high!” Planets spinning, animals and birds, a multitude of people of varying colors and shapes help build a repeating text that weaves the story into a question, “How did the old man paint the whole sky? How did he do it? It’s up so high!” With a vibrant retelling of creation, the story captures the natural questions of a child, as the brilliant images project a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes.

Unlike previous materials from this author, Sloat has created musical art through her words. This picture book captures the beauty and mystery of creation in the prehistoric artwork found in the Altimira caves. With strong, repeated text that mimics “There was an old lady...” Sloat brings to life the childlike wonderment of our past. This story is supported by the vibrantly moving artwork by Vitale, as the illustrations share in the telling of the tale. From the illustrations of the young girl to the depictions of life, children will be caught by the beauty of this picture book and its story.

After viewing cave paintings in books and Web sites, discuss why these were done and what they represent. Readers can create their own paintings of their lives and family, sharing their stories with others through their artwork.

Gregory, Curtis. THE CAVE PAINTERS. ISBN 9781400043484
Lauber, Patricia. PAINTERS OF THE CAVES. ISBN 9780792270959
Ramos, Pedro A. Sauro. THE CAVE OF ALTIMIRA. ISBN 9780810919891

By Christine J. Rayl

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