Review Blog

Apr 01 2020

The artist by Alison Binks

cover image

Berbay Publishing, 2020. ISBN: 9780648397380. 32pp.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. The young boy likes to get up before breakfast while the world is still sleeping. Then he can mix his paints and paint what he sees, the darkness and light, shadows and edges. But this morning it doesn't turn out to his liking, so he puts it aside, calls Young Dog and walks off down the beach, shedding his displeasure. They return to the boat and Young Dog curls up asleep as if knowing the rain is about to come in. When it does the boy can get down to inside painting, copying the bird pictures from his bird book. Sometime Grandma comes to visit and he plays for her on his little electric organ and later goes into town where he takes piano lessons. But he is only thinking of being on the water, painting. He hurries back home and sails to a nearby cove where he squeezes out the paint from its tube and paints a small bird on the beach. He sleeps in his sleeping bag and when he wakes he looks at the picture he drew the day before, and knows today is a new day to paint.
This is a warm and evocative tale of the need to paint, the desire to get what you see down onto paper, of the internal push to capture that moment. With dreamy watercolour images, the story Binks has produced reflects the lives of many
artists, often withdrawing from the world and its distractions, finding a place and a time to be themselves, to work unhindered. In this way Binks celebrates the child who is free of restrictions, who is able to go off at will, taking his paints and paper with him, looking at the natural world around him to find inspiration and love.
Young readers will dream along with the boy of a time when this is possible, of taking off by themselves to muse and create, wonder and adore the environment in which we live. Themes: Art and artists, Sea, Feelings.
Fran Knight

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