cover image The Painter Who Loved Chickens

The Painter Who Loved Chickens

Olivier Dunrea / Author Farrar Straus Giroux $15 (1p) ISBN 978

The hero of this quiet but inspiring picture book has a secret, quirky ambition. He longs to leave the city, where he earns a modest living by painting fine portraits of ``people, penguins and poodles,'' and buy a farm where he can paint his favorite subject: chickens. But just when it seems that chicken-painting will remain a hobby, the artist's work impresses a wealthy customer (and fellow fowl aficionado) and the direction of his life changes. Dunrea's (Deep Down Underground) unassuming text straightforwardly conveys his emotion-filled, clearly delineated story. His sunny gouache paintings, liberally splashed with oranges, yellows and reds, are a chicken-lover's delight-each page features a tiny portrait of a variety of fowl, e.g., Blue Cochin or Black Langshan, in addition to plenty of whimsical chicken-related decoration. Full-page illustrations, meanwhile, provide an intriguing behind-the-scenes look at an artist at work. Ages 5-8. (Mar.)