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This story of friendship and art, written in first person present tense from the boy’s point of view, is casual and matter-of-fact. There is no question in the boy’s mind: he is an artist and his dedication to his art is inspiring. The boy and his dog are the only characters in this story and their interactions show how much they love and respect one another. The illustrations are a combination of hand drawn line work and thick strokes of paint. Barroux uses color to call attention to important elements in the compositions, leaving less important, but nevertheless intriguing elements, to be outlined, but not colored completely. As noted in the illustrator’s note on the back endpapers, Louie’s painting was inspired by Paul Cézanne’s still life, nature morte au panier. A short biography of Cézanne is also included.
Use this book for a storytime about painting and painters. Try pairing it with titles such as, The Magical Life of Mr. Renny, Emma’s Rug or I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More. Discuss what inspires each of the painters in these stories. Where, when, and why do they paint?
Louie thinks paintings should have dogs in them, so bring in photographs of famous paintings that include dogs. PetCentric has a list of dogs in art to get you started. Bring in art books with lots of color photographs. Divide kids into groups of 3-4 and have a dog scavenger hunt. Have kids mark pages with a sticky note or a book mark. How many dogs can you find in 5 or 10 minutes?
Try pairing this book with the title poem from Jack Prelutsky’s poetry collection, My Dog May Be a Genius, illustrated by James Stevenson.