The Little Painter of Sabana
by Patricia Maloney Markun
illustrated by Robert Casilla
This picture book tells the story of the Espino family from the Panama village of Sabana Grande. Fernando, the young boy in the story, gathers materials to make own paint:
“Black from the charcoal of a burned trees stump. Blue of certain berries that grow deep in the jungle. Yellow from dried grasses in the meadow. And red from the clay on the bottom of the brook.”
Without any paper, Fernando begins to paint the adobe houses of the village, turning them into a beautiful sight and attraction.
According to the author’s note, Markun was living in Panama when she heard about this boy – Markun states, “My vivid memory of those sand-colored adobe houses, one of them brightened by a creative child, called forth a story – one that really happened.”
The way that this child’s creativity became contagious in the little village reminded me of two other stories: The Big Orange Spot by D. Manus Pinkwater and The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds. I think it would be interesting to group these stories together and let children made the thematic connections between them.
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