cover image This Is Your World

This Is Your World

Sophia Gholz, illus. by Robin Boyden. Running Press Kids, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7624-7356-4

Though it’s estimated that most viewers didn’t paint along with him, Bob Ross’s PBS program The Joy of Painting is renowned for making viewers feel calm and centered for a full 30 minutes. Beginning with the figure’s Florida upbringing and covering his time as an Air Force sergeant and transition to painting alla prima with TV artist Bill Alexander, Gholz (The Boy Who Grew a Forest) captures the magic of the artist’s lulling, lilting tone when she quotes Ross describing a painting he’s filled with his signature “happy little things” as a “nice example of what can be done with just a few colors, a little imagination, and a happy dream in your heart.” It’s not the most eventful life story, but there is comfort in seeing a gentle soul (he rescued injured animals and “didn’t like to yell”) gradually find his voice and his calling through art and community. Boyden (Gerald Needs a Friend) gives this arc of self-discovery visual momentum through crisply drawn, cartoonish vignettes, along with a few larger images of the outdoors, that pay full homage to the Bob Ross style. Back matter includes an author’s note, art definitions, and “Bob’s painting colors.” Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Liza Fleissig, Liza Royce Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Charlie Bowden, Pickled Ink. (Sept.)