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The Children's Bookshelf: Izzy Paints - January 8, 2023


IZZY PAINTS written and illustrated by Tim Miller is a delightful picture book about how a Koala bear discovers the beauty and possibilities of art. At the beginning of the story the reader sees Izzy out for a walk around the city. Izzy walks past bookstores, flower shops, tattoo parlors, bakeries, hat shops and a cupcake café. The sweet details in each picture provide a visual feast for children reading this book.

Izzy comes upon the Museum with a big HELLO sign on its door and goes inside. Therein Izzy sees beautiful art which looks possibly to be influenced by Da Vinci, Van Gogh, and Frida Kahlo among others. After a day of looking at and feeling art, Izzy makes the very big decision to become an artist!

At home the Koala gathers paint, brushes, an easel, and a canvas from a delightfully jam-packed closet. “Then it’s time to create. But what will Izzy make? Uh-oh. Izzy doesn’t know. Izzy is stuck.”

The author artist gives his hero a bright yellow color that encourages Izzy to start making pictures with a series of drips, dots, splashes, and swirls of vivid colors. These energetic illustrations wrap the story in fun, action, and the creative process.

IZZY PAINTS written and joyfully illustrated by Tim Miller is perfect for youngsters 3-7 years of age (Balzer and Bray/ an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers) 2022.

The Children’s Bookshelf is a production of WCMU. Links to the podcast and the Activity Questions can be found at Children’s Bookshelf dot org.

Activity Questions for Izzy Paints

For younger children: Find the following twelve things in Izzy’s closet: a box of crayons, a bottle of glue, paint brushes, a blue necklace, a bucket of green paint, a roll of yarn, colored paper, orange scissors, a bucket of gems, pencils, scotch tape and an easel.

For older children: Study the two-page illustration where window washing is being done and answer the following questions: Who is drawing a rainbow? Who is walking with Izzy? Who is the “genius” referred to on the sign? Where is the “I Love Art” sign displayed? Why? How many legs does the octopus in this picture have? What is the octopus creating?

The colors of Electric Yellow, Jade, Indigo, Magenta, and Teal are shown in this book as colors that Izzy enjoys using. What are your favorite colors? Why? Think about it and then draw a picture of a big vase of flowers using your favorite colors.

Sue Ann Martin is professor emerita of Communication and Dramatic Arts and the founding and past Dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts at Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. She first became interested in children’s literature when she wrote her PhD thesis on the oral characteristics of the Caldecott Award-winning children’s books. Her PhD is in Speech and Interpretation with a cognate in Early Childhood Education. She went on to review children’s books for the Detroit Free Press, write three popular resource books for teachers regarding children’s books and the creative process. She also reviewed newly-published books for Arts Almanac specials on WCMU Public Radio. Her 2002 children’s books special for WCMU won a Merit Award in Special Interest Programming from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters.