Thursday, March 6, 2014

Learning from Picture Books: Sky Color

This week I'm taking a closer look at one of the nominees for the 2014 Blue Spruce Award from the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading. Other nominees I've featured so far include Oddrey by Dave Whammond (OwlKids Books), I Dare You Not to Yawn by Helene Boudreau (Candlewick Press) and A Good Trade by Alma Fullerton (Pajama Press).

Sky Color

written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

published by Candlewick, 2012

From Amazon:

Marisol loves to paint. So when her teacher asks her to help make a mural for the school library, she can’t wait to begin! But how can Marisol make a sky without blue paint? After gazing out the bus window and watching from her porch as day turns into night, she closes her eyes and starts to dream. . . . From the award-winning Peter H. Reynolds comes a gentle, playful reminder that if we keep our hearts open and look beyond the expected, creative inspiration will come.

My Thoughts as a Writer:

I liked how the story stuck with one clear story line and didn’t try to do too many things. It’s a good example for picture book writers who are struggling to learn how to tell their story in a small amount of space and words. 

The illustrations made the story come alive for me. I really enjoyed the way Mr. Reynolds drew attention to color, by creating illustrations in various shades of sepia except for the colors in the art.

My Thoughts as a Teacher:

This book would be a great one to read along with an art lesson in mural-making, color mixing or to discuss how important it is to really observe the world around you to spark your creativity.  

It would be fun to read Peter Reynold’s other books in this series, The Dot and Ish, and to talk about similarities and differences and the underlying themes of risk-taking and creativity.

Looking for other great picture books to use in your classroom or to read with your children? Check out these recommendations for Perfect Picture Books over at Susanna Leonard Hill's site.


  1. This series is on my bookshelf! I refer to them all the time.

  2. One of my very favorite books by Reynolds. I have the complete series. So simple, but packed with a lot of simplicity and beauty. His book are all about encouraging kids to be creative and make their mark.

  3. This is an absolute winner for me and agree the set of three books are fabulous together.

  4. This is a lovely book. I reviewed it last year and think it is simply charming. Thanks for the reminder.

  5. Oh my. I must read this in order to find out how a person could get along without BLUE. ;)

  6. This sounds like a great book. I just put it on hold at my library! Yea!

  7. There are so many things to love about this book. The story is as good as the art, and that is saying a lot. Thanks for the great review.

  8. I love this book. I love the way she comes up with "sky color". What I like best is that at the end you want to look at things a bit more closely. What color is the sky, anyway?

  9. I really like this book - and the way the painter comes up with "sky color". After reading it, I took a closer look at the colors around me. Who needs blue, indeed? Unless you're aiming for grass color - and then there's the whole how-do-I-get-green thing...


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