There Was an Old Man Who Painted the Sky

There Was an Old Man Who Painted the Sky by Teri Sloat, illustrated by Stefano Vitale.

This picture book captures the beauty of cave paintings that were discovered at the Altamira Cave in 1879.  A young girl found the paintings when she was eight years old and exploring with her father, an amateur archaeologist.  This book captures the spirit of the paintings and marries their glory with a catchy tune, introducing the wonder of these images to a new generation.  They have already survived 11,000-19,000 years, so it’s only appropriate to share them with generations.

The refrain in this book is "But I don’t know how he painted the sky – It’s up so high."  Even with the playful melody, one can’t keep awe out of one’s voice saying these words and viewing the majestic paintings in the book.  Many of the illustrations are closely tied to the cave paintings.  Others a have a deeper colored and more majestic feel.  But they all pay homage to the source of inspiration.  Beautifully done, this picture book is much more about capturing the spirit of the cave than replicating the illustrations themselves.  For that very reason, it is successful.

Recommended as a great alternative version of the song, this book has depth and majesty as well.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Big George

Big George by Anne Rockwell, illustrated by Matt Phelan

George Washington was a tall, shy boy who loved to spend time on his own in the woods.  He learned from his half brother to be a Virginia gentleman, and loved to read books about ancient Roman heroes like Cincinnatus.  George grew into a man who worked on mapping the colony, loved the outdoors and excelled at sports, but he didn’t like to talk.  He could never find the right words unless he was angry.  Throughout this fascinating picture book, readers discover Washington’s path to greatness and history.  It is an unlikely and intriguing story of the first President.

Rockwell’s Phelan’s illustrations offer glimpses into moments in history.  Washington’s shock of red hair lends a different feeling to the history, as does seeing him as a boy who does more than chop down a cherry tree.  This is a much more human and therefore more interesting person.  Rockwell does well capturing history fully even though she is brief and concise.

Great for classroom use for President’s Day, this book will also find an audience amongst children who prefer nonfiction.  Appropriate for ages 6-7, younger for reading aloud.


Just testing my remote blogging software, Windows Live Writer.

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