"To find out what a story's really about,' the Librarian said,

'you don't ask the writer. You ask the reader."

- SNOW & ROSE by Emily Winfield Martin

Monday, December 4, 2017

Review: IF PICASSO PAINTED A SNOWMAN by Amy and Greg Newbold (C)

by Amy and Greg Newbold
Release date: October 3rd, 2017
Published by: Tilbury House Publishers
Genre: Children's Picture Book 
Format: Hardcover, eBook
Format read: Hardcover from the author's publicity rep.


If someone asked you to paint a snowman, you would probably start with three white circles stacked one upon another. Then you would add black dots for eyes, an orange triangle for a nose, and a black dotted smile. But if Picasso painted a snowman...

From that simple premise flows this delightful, whimsical, educational picture book that shows how the artist's imagination can summon magic from a prosaic subject. Greg Newbold's chameleon-like artistry shows us Roy Lichtenstein's snow hero saving the day, Georgia O'Keefe's snowman blooming in the desert, Claude Monet's snowmen among haystacks, Grant Wood's American Gothic snowman, Jackson Pollock's snowman in ten thousand splats, Salvador Dali's snowmen dripping like melty cheese, and Georges Seurat, Pablita Velarde, Piet Mondrian, Sonia Delaunay, Jacob Lawrence, and Vincent van Gogh.

Our guide for this tour is a lively hamster who - also chameleon-like - sports a Dali mustache on one spread, a Van Gogh ear bandage on the next.

"What would your snowman look like?" the book asks and then offers a page with a picture frame for a child to fill in. Backmatter thumbnail biographies of the artists complete this highly original tour of the creative imagination that will delight adults as well as children. 


I really do think that as much as my kiddos enjoyed this book, I loved it even more! There is just something about the opening of the book that really got to me... right from the start we are asked how we would draw a snowman and then it answers the question for you - "three white circles stacked upon each other with black dots for eyes, an orange triangle nose, etc..." Which is exactly how we would draw a snowman, right? This is how we are taught to see and draw one, and it is the way a snowman is continuously depicted everywhere you look. But then, the author challenges you - what if a certain artist was to draw a snowman, what do you think it would look like? For example, if the snowman were to be painted by Picasso, Monet, or Pollack? Do you think all of their snowmen would like alike?... 

This book not only opens a whole new world for budding artists to let their imaginations run wild and not to limit themselves... it teaches them to think for themselves and to not judge others for being different. It inspires children to believe in themselves and in what they would like to create, but to also accept criticism since we all have our own distinct styles and will translate our own work, and others, in our own way.

All of the artwork and illustrations are brilliant interpretations of every artist's work - Dali, Mondrian, Lawrence, Wood and more! The quality and work that went into them are astounding - I truly felt as if all of the artists came together to collaborate here... 
Quoting my 4-year-old after he chose his favorite snowman, Vincent Van Gogh's "snowman swirls and curls in the wavy hills": "It looks cold and snowy. They did a good job!"

Oh, and we cannot forget to mention our adorable narrator - a hamster that not only introduces us in his own quiet way to each interpreted snowman pictured but also takes on the persona of every artist mentioned, which helped my son identify each artist and understand that these people each had different ideas, can/will interpret things differently, and every person has their own unique style and creative ways. And that he too can create in his own way, style, medium, etc.

The only thing we all missed seeing in this book - what the author's and/or illustrator's own snowman would have looked like! Although the interpretations that were shared with us are their own unique visions inspired by great artists, we would have loved to have seen their own original artwork alongside them too!

This is definitely a book to share with all the imaginative artists and art history majors in your life! Also, it would be the perfect intro to little ones to different art styles, periods of art history, textures and mediums and so much more! 

*We received a hardcover copy of IF PICASSO PAINTED A SNOWMAN from Nicole Banholzer PR, LLC. for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions here are our own. Please leave a comment or message us with any problems and/or questions. Thank you!


Amy Newbold grew up drawing horses. 

While visiting the Musee Picasso in Paris, she wondered what a snowman painted by Picasso would look like. 

Although she once fell asleep in an art history class, she has always loved art, museums, and museum gift shops. 

Before writing this book, Amy would have drawn a snowman by stacking three white circles one upon another, but now she is planning to paint a snowman made of dots. 

Amy loves road trips with her husband Greg, writing, and hiking and camping in the mountains near her home. 


Award-winning illustrator Greg Newbold grew up drawing superheroes and Dr. Seuss characters on giant end rolls of newsprint in his childhood basement. He once copied a Vincent van Gogh painting for a college art history class instead of writing a paper. 

Greg found it challenging and fun to paint in the styles of so many of his favorite artists for this book. 

He loves his job of making pictures and has illustrated a dozen books for children. 

In his free time, Greg enjoys gardening, fishing, road trips with Amy, and painting the natural wonders near his Utah home. 

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