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.