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A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin

Last updated Thursday, July 24, 2014

Author: Jen Bryant
Illustrator: Melissa Sweet
Date of Publication: 2013
ISBN: 0375867120
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Aug. 2014

Synopsis: As a child in the late 1800s, Horace Pippin loved to draw: He loved the feel of the charcoal as it slid across the floor. He loved looking at something in the room and making it come alive again in front of him. He drew pictures for his sisters, his classmates, his co-workers. Even during W.W.I, Horace filled his notebooks with drawings from the trenches . . . until he was shot. Upon his return home, Horace couldn't lift his right arm, and couldn't make any art. Slowly, with lots of practice, he regained use of his arm, until once again, he was able to paint--and paint, and paint! Soon, peopleincluding the famous painter N. C. Wyethstarted noticing Horace's art, and before long, his paintings were displayed in galleries and museums across the country.

Note to readers:
•  There is a note about the painter at the end of the book.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Who do you think Horace Pippin is? What do you think he liked to do?
•  What is your favorite color?

•  arranged - to move and organize things into a particular order or position
•  charcoal - a hard black material that is made by burning wood with a small amount of air
•  several - more than two but not very many
•  responsibilities - a duty or task that you are required or expected to do
•  regiment - a military unit that is usually made of several large groups of soldiers
•  pleaded - to ask for something in a serious and emotional way
•  droned - to make a continuous low humming sound
•  trench - a deep, narrow hole in the ground that is used as protection for soldiers
•  scorched - to burn on the surface
•  exhibition - an event at which objects (such as works of art) are put out in a public space for people to look at

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Who did Horace share his birthday with?
•  Have you ever won a drawing contest? What did Horace win?
•  What did Horace like to draw?
•  Why couldn't Horace draw anymore? Do you think you could paint with a hurt arm?
•  Does drawing/painting help you relax?
•  How does Horace begin to draw again?
•  Where does Horace hang his painting? Does anyone buy them?
•  Did Horace become famous?
•  Have you ever been hurt and couldn't do what you liked?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a picture of your neighborhood.
•  Have the kids draw the same picture that Horace did for the contest.
•  Draw something that inspires you.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!