cover image The Artist

The Artist

Ed Vere. Doubleday, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-5255-8087-4

While many can be too busy to notice the wonders around them, “Artists try to see it all,” proclaims Vere (Max the Brave) in this book-length answer to the question “What is an artist?” The title’s budding creator protagonist, a little Godzilla-esque dinosaur covered in radiant rainbow splotches, is determined to “share her pictures with the world.” She heads for the big city—pluckily sailing across a daunting ocean rendered in deep blue brushstrokes and tangles of black lines—and, much to the delight of the metropolis’s inhabitants, begins covering buildings with murals that make “busy people,/ going places,/ slow down/ and look.” A crisis of confidence ensues when she makes what feels like a very public mistake—coloring outside the lines. But with her fans cheering her on (“Mistakes are how you learn!” a child tells her), the artist not only recovers but is newly emboldened: “Wild and free,/ her colors fly.” Accompanying earnest narration are empathically inked and colored illustrations whose format nods to an artist’s notebook—some images seem to be held in place with brown drafting tape. Even if readers don’t need encouragement to unleash their own talents, they should be intrigued by this protagonist’s arc toward artistic assurance. Ages 3–7. Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Apr.)