The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky's Abstract Art
The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky's Abstract Art

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Annotation: Tells the story of Russian abstract artist Vasily Kandinsky, whose apparent synesthesia, a harmless condition in which one "hears" color and "sees" sound, is thought to have contributed to his exuberant creativity.
Genre: Biographies
Catalog Number: #98691
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Publisher: Random House
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition Date: 2014
Illustrator: GrandPre, Mary,
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-307-97848-6 Perma-Bound: 0-605-86182-X
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-307-97848-6 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-86182-4
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 2012032800
Dimensions: 28 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Horn Book
Pioneering abstract artist Vasily Kandinsky experienced "colors as sounds, and sounds as colors," a neurological condition called synesthesia. Concentrating primarily on Kandinsky's childhood, Rosenstock embellishes known events with dialogue. GrandPri does a fine job showing color and sound as abstractions while presenting the artist and his surroundings realistically. An author's note provides more information about the artist and four reproductions. Websites. Bib.
Kirkus Reviews
This impressive biography of Vasily Kandinsky highlights the unusual connection between his art and
Publishers Weekly
-Is it a house?- -Is it a flower?- -What-s it supposed to be?- When an aunt gives Moscow schoolboy Vasily Kandinsky a paint box, no one knows what to make of the wild shapes he creates. He doesn-t just see the colors. He hears them: -blaring crimson... burbling green, clanging
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 1&11;4&12; A stirring tribute to a prominent pioneer of abstract art, Paintbox follows the life of Russian-born artist Vasya Kandinsky from his childhood to adulthood, conveying the astounding imagery conjured in the painter's (probably genetic) condition, synesthesia, which caused sensory fields to collide in explosions that enabled him, for example, to hear colors. In this delightful homage, Rosenstock's crisp visual language unites with GrandPr&3;'s deeply expressive and whimsical paintings to re-create the intriguing world of art as seen through Kandinsky's distinct lens. The book offers diverse potential for different types of study, whether one is reading for information or for pleasure. Outstanding.&12; Kathryn Diman, Bass Harbor Memorial Library, Bernard, ME
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
This impressive biography of Vasily Kandinsky highlights the unusual connection between his art and the music that inspired it. As a young boy in Russia, Vasily--nicknamed Vasya--glumly studies "bookfuls of math, science, and history." His heavy eyelids droop; he sits "stiff and straight" while adults drone on. Then his aunt gives him a paint box, and everything changes. As Vasya mixes one hue with another, he hears the colors making sounds. "Whisper" is set in a faux handwriting type; "HISS" is also set in a different type from the primary text. Vasya listens as "swirling colors trill…like an orchestra tuning up." Rosenstock explains the mixing of Vasya's senses--synesthesia, in contemporary terms--through the shapes he paints: "Crunching crimson squares," "[w]hispering charcoal lines" and "a powerful navy rectangle that vibrated deeply like the lowest cello strings." Using acrylic paint and paper collage, Grandpré emphasizes the blending of two arts by showing Vasya's paintbrush-holding arms aloft as if he were conducting and by letting Vasya's colors waft upward from his palette, making curlicues in the air, with music staffs and notes interwoven. As Vasya grows up, he faces resistance to his nonrepresentational work, including the repeated interrogation, "What's it supposed to be?"--but his magnificent, abstract, sound-inspired paintings won't be repressed. A rich, accomplished piece about a pioneer in the art world. (author's note, painting reproductions, sources) (Picture book/biography. 5-10)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Richly colored, large acrylic paint and paper collage pictures illustrate the life of Vasily Kandinsky, one of the first painters of abstract art. As a young boy, Vasya was given a paint box, and when he first mixed colors, he was amazed to find he could hear the colors he created. Throughout his early life, Kandinsky struggled to live as others expected but couldn't forget his exhilarating experiences with painting. Even after giving in and taking lessons, he was unable to suppress the need to create his own style of art. He would see colors and hear music, hear music and see colors. Art should make you feel. Like music. Narrow white frames surround the wonderfully dense illustrations that reveal the sounds the colors make to the artist. The rich word choice is a delight: pistachio, cobalt, and saffron introduce readers to colors while hissing, blaring, and whispering reveal the sounds of the colors. This not a full biography, but rather a revelation of a real and talented person striving to express himself d succeeding. The author's note and source list impart more information. This is a beautiful blend of colors, music, and life.
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Word Count: 1,098
Reading Level: 4.4
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.4 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 164284 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:2.5 / points:1.0 / quiz:Q62835
Lexile: AD630L
Guided Reading Level: Q
Fountas & Pinnell: Q

A Caldecott Honor Book

Vasya Kandinsky was a proper little boy: he studied math and history, he practiced the piano, he sat up straight and was perfectly polite. And when his family sent him to art classes, they expected him to paint pretty houses and flowers—like a proper artist.
 
But as Vasya opened his paint box and began mixing the reds, the yellows, the blues, he heard a strange sound—the swirling colors trilled like an orchestra tuning up for a symphony! And as he grew older, he continued to hear brilliant colors singing and see vibrant sounds dancing. But was Vasya brave enough to put aside his proper still lifes and portraits and paint . . . music?
 
In this exuberant celebration of creativity, Barb Rosenstock and Mary GrandPré tell the fascinating story of Vasily Kandinsky, one of the very first painters of abstract art. Throughout his life, Kandinsky experienced colors as sounds, and sounds as colors—and bold, groundbreaking works burst forth from his noisy paint box.
 
Backmatter includes four paintings by Kandinsky, an author’s note, sources, links to websites on synesthesia and abstract art.


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