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Louise Loves Art by Kelly Light

Louise-Loves-Art-cvr.jpgCELEBRATE THE LOVE OF ART

Author/Illustrator Kelly Light has created characters who are both lovable and relatable in Louise Loves Art, (Balzer and Bray, an imprint of Harper Collins, $17.99, Ages 4-8). Truly a work of art, Light’s first picture book, Louise Loves Art, will leave you satisfied, and wanting more at the same time. With a sparse text, (only about 130 words), you’d think it would be difficult to tell much of a story. Fuhgeddaboudit! (Sorry. Fellow former Jersey girl, Light, must have brought it out in me). This is a story brimming with a child’s passion for creative expression as well as a tale of sibling dynamics.

As the title says, Louise loves art. She draws all kinds of things, a frog, a sailboat, and her little brother Art. Young readers will enjoy seeing her work displayed throughout the house. Art watches and idolizes his big sister, as she tries to create a masterpiece: a picture of her cat.

To be a great artist, you have to notice everything.
Every line…
every curve…
Wait–hold that pose! I will capture your cat-ness!

But while Louise is engrossed in finding the perfect place to display her pièce de résistance, she fails to notice Art, his attempts to get her attention, and “his own” creation.

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Interior artwork from Louise Loves Art by Kelly Light, Balzer & Bray ©2014.

Unlike Art’s inability to capture his sister’s eye, Light has no trouble getting our attention on and off the page. Frequently seen sporting red lipstick and matching eyeglasses, while on her book tour, Light told me, “Strong, by Lush Cosmetics, is the color of lipstick I like. Louise is a strong character.” Yes, she is, and with her primarily black and white and red all over style of artwork, Light makes that very clear. Using a black Prisma color pencil on vellum, scanning her drawings into the computer, and coloring them in Photoshop with “Louise Red” (also known as Pantone 1788), has her illustrations popping off the page.

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Interior artwork from Louise Loves Art by Kelly Light, Balzer & Bray ©2014.

Louise inspires her brother, and Light’s book encourages children across the country to pick up a pencil and draw. In a time when art classes are being cut or eliminated from schools, it’s good to shed a little “Light” on the subject.

– Reviewed by MaryAnne Locher

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Too Much Glue by Jason Lefebvre

Too Much Glue, written by Jason Lefebvre and illustrated by Zac Retz, is reviewed by Ronna Mandel.

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Too Much Glue by Jason Lefebvre with illustrations by Zac Retz, Flashlight Press.

Flashlight Press is a small publishing house based in my old stomping ground of New York; Brooklyn, to be precise. Although they don’t publish a lot of picture books each year, what they do publish is not to be missed.

That is certainly the case with the uproarious picture book Too Much Glue (Flashlight Press, $16.95, Ages 4-8). When a review copy entitled Too Much Glue arrived in the mail, I was instantly transported back to Mrs. Snow’s elementary school art class where I, like the book’s main character Matty, over-indulged in what could be called Glue Pouring (and Smearing) 101.

Author Lefebvre is keenly aware of many youngsters’ predilection for squeezing out way too much of that fascinating sticky stuff in the plastic bottle with the orange twist cap. In fact, Matty’s teacher cautioned her class, “Glue raindrops, not puddles!” But what kid doesn’t love splashing around in puddles, so creating a big gooey lake of glue was simply too hard to resist, especially for Matty.

The combination of Lefebvre’s loud read-aloud language (there’s Plooooop!, Geronimo!, Snap! and Kabooom!) and Retz’s colorful and comical (lots of wide-open eyes and mouths) illustrations make this an irresistible, over-the-top tale sure to keep kids glued to their seats at story time!

Readers learn that playing with glue is nothing new for Matty who, together with his dad, designs “glue eyeglasses, glue mustaches, and even glue bouncy balls.” So it should come as no surprise that Matty’s slopping glue all over his desk with a dash of sequins and a dollop of goggly eyes is a recipe for trouble. And try as they might, Matty’s classmates valiant efforts with a lasso, and a tow truck fail miserably to remove Matty from his desktop disaster. Even the school nurse ends up leaving Matty as a “melted mummy, clicky bricky, clingy stringy, blucky stucky mess.”

Is there a way out of this sticky predicament for Matty or is he destined to remain stuck forever in an art project gone awry? Find out for yourselves if Matty finds freedom in this no holds barred picture book that celebrates creativity in every sense of the word.

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