Anywhere Artist

illus. by Nikki Slade Robinson. 40p. Clarion. Feb. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781328707369.
PreS-Gr 2—The message of this book is simple: anyone anywhere can be an artist, with a little imagination. The main character, a young girl with blond pigtails, declares on page after page, "I am a/n ____artist," and proceeds to craft together mythical creatures from materials from that particular landscape (forest, beach, rain puddles, etc.) The illustrations feature collages of found objects, contrasting with the girl who is playfully drawn in childlike colored-pencil sketches. The text follows a repeated pattern: the verso page is blank, with a statement in curlicue font, facing the recto with an illustration. This repetition does not get tedious due to the descriptive language—"fluffy lichen, twisted sticks, smooth stones, and lacy leaf skeletons"—and interesting juxtaposition of the mixed media illustrations.
VERDICT This sweet picture book contains a positive message for young artists everywhere and is a potential leaping-off point for creative projects using found objects in nature. Purchase for medium size and large collections.

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