Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

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

Rosenstock, Barb (Author)
GrandPré, Mary (Illustrator)
Penguin Random House 2014. 36 pages
First published: 2014
ISBN: 9780307978486 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Dewey: 759.7
Book type: Non-Fiction
Book genre: Biography

Text Elements:

character, structures and features

Award

Caldecott Honor Book – 2015

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

This is the story of a nice, upper class Russian boy, who grows up to defy convention, first as an artist, and eventually as a pioneer of abstract painting. The language skillfully mingles the senses of sight and sound that so inspired Kandinsky. Even as a child with his first paint box, “Vasya listened … The swirling colours trilled.” This poetic and engaging theme may also inspire confident readers to write their own compositions using an interplay of different senses.

Warm, painterly illustrations combine the fussy furnishings of pre-revolutionary Russian society with the strong, flowing forms imagined by Vasya—that he finally puts to canvas. In the last spread, both image and language offer the opportunity to reflect on the nature and purpose of visual art, as a girl gazes at a “Kandinsky” on a museum wall: “‘What’s it supposed to be?’ “It’s my art,’ Vasya answered. ‘How does it make you feel?’”

An author’s note gives more background on the artist, including his possible genetic condition in which visual stimulation, such as colour, seems to generate sounds. Quotes, reproductions of the artist’s work and a list of sources completes the back material.

  •  

    Look at examples of Kandinsky’s artwork and other famous abstract art. What do you observe about abstract art? What do you think of the question, “How does it make you feel?” Do you like this style of art? Explain why or why not.

  •  

    How do the pictures help explain how Kandinsky experiences music and art? Read the Author’s Note. Have you ever experienced synesthesia? In what ways do you think it would be a positive or negative experience?

  •  

    Using facts from the book as well as other resources, make a timeline of Kandinsky’s life. Include important dates, places and events.

  •  Create a piece of abstract art based on a piece of music.
  •  

    Find examples of Kandinsky’s work online or in an art book. What do you notice? How does his art make you feel? Do you like it? Explain why or why not.

  •  Use facts from Kandinsky’s story to make a timeline of his life.
  •  

    Think of an object of your own that you cherish as much as Kandinsky did his paint box. Describe how this object makes you feel. How could it influence your future? Present the object and a bit of its history to your classmates.

  • Personal and Career Planning
  • Geography, History and Citizenship
  • Visual Arts