There Was an Old Man Who Painted the Sky

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9780805067514: There Was an Old Man Who Painted the Sky
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When a child looks up to find drawings on the ceiling of a cave, she wonders how they were painted. Planets that spin, the birds and the beasts, woman and man―how did the old man in the sky paint it all? Based on the 1879 discovery of ceiling paintings in Spain's Altamira Cave, this imaginative story expresses the awe of contemplating the creation of the world and locating beauty in an unexpected place. Children will revel in this timeless tale with truly breathtaking images.

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About the Author:

TERI SLOAT is the author of more than twenty books for children, including There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Trout! A former teacher, she lives north of San Francisco.



STEFANO VITALE has illustrated many acclaimed books, including Why War Is Never a Good Idea by Alice Walker and When the Wind Stops by Charlotte Zolotow. He lives in Venice, Italy.

From School Library Journal:

Kindergarten-Grade 3—In the style of "There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly," Sloat reflects upon the Stone Age paintings discovered by a young girl, in 1879, on the ceiling of the Altamira Cave in northern Spain. They seem to represent the creation of the world, and he tries to re-create the child's thoughts as she viewed them. Vitale's glorious mixed-media illustrations on board, bursting with beautifully toned colors and an array of eye-catching patterns and stylized figures, are clearly the focus here. They depict moon and sun, stars and planets, day and night, fish, birds, animals, and people, and an old man within a circle who appears to be the creator of it all. The paintings are filled with texture as well as color—smooth folds of cave rock; light-speckled waves in the ocean depths; the cracked surface of the moon. An author's note tells how the cave paintings were discovered. This reality-based piece shows that, since ancient times, people have tried to explain, through stories, how the world was created. However, the style of the text—repetitive, rhyming verses based on a familiar nonsense song—seems the wrong choice for this introduction to an important archaeological discovery, and Sloat's sometimes nonsensical verse with accompanying paintings of primitively drawn striped and spotted people does little to introduce young children to cave paintings.—Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH END

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Teri Sloat
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