An Artist’s Eyes
Frances Tosdevin and Clémence Monnet
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
As the story opens adult Mo and young Jo are out walking together. Readers are invited to notice their eyes – they have the same friendliness, shape and smallness but Mo’s eyes are different: she has artist’s eyes. As they walk through various different natural places Mo comments imaginatively on their surroundings: she sees the seascape as ‘a dazzling duck-egg blue, a swirl of peacocks and the inky, indigo of evening, whereas Jo says it’s “so blue!” As they continue Jo describes the forest literally as “green” whereas Mo sees “a shiny apple-green, the lime of gooseberries, and the spring zinginess of moss.”
The field of yellow flowers are “bright yellow” to Jo and Mo notices variations in shades. “Notice how light changes the colour. See the mellow yellow of melons and the pale pastel of primroses.” Jo’s response is despondent: he becomes angry and frustrated at not seeing like an artist.
Patiently, Mo encourages him to trust his own eyes and little by little Jo begins to see what they show him; and what they show him as he deploys his imaginative powers to the full are patterns, textures, shapes and more.
No, he doesn’t see as Mo sees but he does now see with artist’s eyes.
Assuredly, with Clémence Monnet’s gorgeous mixed media illustrations, and Frances Tosdevin’s empowering story, this is a book that, shared with the right adult, will encourage youngsters to accept, employ and make the most of the unique skills they have, as well as conveying the idea that everyone can see like an artist and describe imaginatively what they see.