Long before he was a famous abstract artist, Vasya Kandinsky spent hours learning to be a “proper Russian boy,” studying etiquette and being seen but not heard. When he was given a paint box to encourage an appreciation of art, no one expected the explosion of creativity it inspired. To his parents’ dismay, Vasya painted symphonies rather than landscapes and portraits. Bold sweeping colors and shocking shapes cascaded in a cacophony of expression from The Noisy Paint Box (Knopf, $17.99), because Vasya thought that “art should make you feel… like music.” Mary Grandpré's exuberant acrylic painting and paper collage alludes to Kandinsky's style, but never feels derivative, in Barb Rosenstock’s joyous celebration of originality. Ages 5-8. Courtney Burtraw

The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky's Abstract Art Cover Image
By Barb Rosenstock, Mary GrandPre (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780307978486
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - February 11th, 2014

In late 19th- and early 20th-century Biloxi, Mississippi, George E. Ohr was ahead of his time. Ohr, who dubbed himself The Mad Potter (Roaring Brook, $17.99), experimented with glazes and shapes, creating “art ware” that future generations would admire and even covet. He was a showman who created a persona to lure tourists and locals to flashy demonstrations at his potter’s wheel. But few of Ohr’s contemporaries recognized his genius, preferring to purchase his clay trinkets. Award-winning authors Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan (Ballet for Martha) introduce readers to this underappreciated artist and his art with engaging text and captivating photographs. Today you can see Ohr’s work at the Gehry-designed Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi.  Ages 9-12. Heidi Powell

The Mad Potter: George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius Cover Image
ISBN: 9781596438101
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Roaring Brook Press - October 29th, 2013

Unless they’ve time to slip into a dreamy reverie, readers had best steer clear of Goodnight Songs (Sterling, $17.95), a collection of previously unpublished poems by famed children’s author Margaret Wise Brown. The book casts a spell. Each poem has been reimagined in song by Tom Proutt and Emily Gary, whose mellifluous soundscape, included on CD, works as an extended lullaby while intricately pairing instrumentation to lyric: the yawning trombone of “Sleep like a Rabbit,” Celtic rhythms in the sea tale of “Song for Estyn.” Twelve preeminent illustrators gathered to produce the art. Though diverse in media and style—from Carin Berger’s tiny 3-D stage to Eric Puybaret’s acrylic on linen—the pictures create a mood of mystery and whimsy, filled with details sure to enchant adults and children. If any book can capture the hushed comfort of that moment between awake and asleep, this one has done it. Ages 3-6. Amy Dickinson

Goodnight Songs [With CD (Audio)] Cover Image
ISBN: 9781454904465
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Sterling Children's Books - March 4th, 2014