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So I’ve got to be honest. I initially found the front cover a bit creepy and Dali-esque. But the kids didn’t feel that way and in fact, once I got to know Art and Max I didn’t find them scary at all.

Art is a great painter but isn’t too keen to let Max join in. He reluctantly lets him paint nearby and suggests that Max paints him. Max takes him at his word and, rather do a portrait, covers Art from head to foot in many colours. They dry and Art breaks out of them…but he is left with a soft residue of rainbow colours. Max finds a fan and blows the powders off.

Art feels strange and has some water and ends up losing his colours completely, and then when he runs off, he loses the lines making him. But Max re-draws him (it takes a while to get him just right) and then sprays him with colour so that he is fabulously dotty (with colours I mean. I’m not referring to his state of mind).

The story ends with Max calmly drawing a portrait on a canvas and Art wildly splashing colours on a cactus.

We really enjoyed this story. Children have to deal with other children not wanting them to join in with something because they aren’t as good or they will wreck things. And you know, Max kind of does. But it’s all art – and what he does shows Art that there are other ways to paint, and that his way of doing things isn’t the only way.

It reminded me of the days when, whenever I would set up an easel outside, the children would immediately get naked and paint their entire bodies. They would always paint the soles of their feet black. I got very skilled at dunking them in a tub of warm water in the garden and then carrying them to the bathroom to a pre-prepared bath. (I should point out that I don’t have white carpets, nor did I ever really care if the occasional hand print found its way onto the walls.)

Art should most definitely be fun. I’m glad that Max could impart that lesson to Art.

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