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The Noisy Paint Box by Barb Rosenstock Book Review

The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kadinsky's Abstract Art by Barb Rosenstock
Illustrated by Mary GrandPre
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Release Date: February 11, 2014

Vasily Kadinsky is considered one of the very first abstract artists. Throughout his life, Kadinsky experienced synesthesia, hearing colors as sound. He discovered this world of sound and color after being given a paint box by his aunt, a paint box that turned out to be, for Kadinsky, rather noisy.

I am torn with this book. On the one hand I dislike children's biographies that take creative license and basically turn a biographical story into a work of fiction. This reminds me of a lot of biographies that were written in the 60's and 70's that were heavy on the fiction and light on the fact. The author's saving grace is that she admits that her story is only based on a true story. I find this a shame because Hollywood does "based on" a lot and we all know how that works out. (Perhaps you saw a little movie about Mr. Disney and Mrs. Travers?)

On the other hand, the illustrations by GrandPre were simply spectacular. Beautifully drawn, capturing the essence of Kadinsky but making it her own. On one page Kadinsky is clearly bored and even the dead fish on the table looks miserable.