by Sherrill S. Cannon & Kalpart
Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Co. 5/01/2014
Age 4 to 8 28 pages
“Have you ever seen a “work of art” worth millions, which looks like something your child just brought home from school? The dual perspective of “Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder” and just a little bit of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” is evident in this clever artwork story of a child who paints a fingerpaint print in class and then loses it in the wind on the way home. Illustrated from the point of view of the child, whose identity is left to the imagination of the reader since all of the illustrations are what the child sees, the fingerpaint print is interpreted by official ‘judges’ as well as by bystanders. Should people be influenced by what others see, or use their own self-esteem to make their own judgments?”
“One day in my art class / Mrs. Gallagher said / “just fingerpaint something / you see in your head.” / So I dipped all my fingers / in paint that was green / and drew on the paper / my very best scene.”
A young child begins creating a finger painting in class, but the bells rings before the picture can be finished or signed. The child decides to take the picture home. Not wanting to ruin the painting, the child holds it between two fingers. A gust of wind grabs the picture and takes it away. The painting lands on top a pile of paintings an artist is sorting for an upcoming show. He never sees the finger painting and hands the entire pile to the dealer for an upcoming show. Later that week, the child’s painting hangs in the mall as part of an artist’s collection. Though matted and framed, the finger painting looks out of place—except to the judges who awarded it first place. The child tries to tell everyone that it is his/her picture, but no one believes the child could paint such splendor.
My Fingerprint Masterpiece is Ms. Cannon’s sixth children’s book with the Kalpart art team. Her other books deal with behavior and bad manners. My Fingerpaint Masterpiece is different. Here the problem is with the adults as seen from a child’s point of view. Writing in rhyme, as she has for all of her books, My Fingerpaint Masterpiece flows smoothly, with an occasionally bumpy meter or a stretched rhyme. Neither of those will detract from the pleasure of reading My Fingerpaint Masterpiece. Ms. Cannon writes stories that are easy to read many times, something parents can appreciate on the tenth reading in one day.
The art is typical Kalpart art as seen in all the Cannon books. The illustrations are “Illustrated from the point of view of a child . . . all of the illustrations are what the child sees . . .” Not always. The second spread shows the child watching the painting drift away in the wind gust, while holding a hat on his/her head—not from the child’s viewpoint. The same goes for the illustration of the judges staring at the painting on the wall, since the child would see the backs of their heads not their faces—no one would—as the judges try to figure out what the painting represents. While I always like the illustrations in Cannon’s books, I would love to see a different style.
Hidden within the illustrations, are the kids and covers from previous books, a devise used in previous books. There is a challenge at the back of the book to find those things and the objects in the finger painting. A key to the painting is not supplied, so unless you can find all the objects—I could not—frustration might become your friend. [my key] If you can find them, you have super special sensory eyes. Make sure you let the author know. The kids and covers are easier but you need to look closely.
I like the story. It is cute, and it is plausible. I bet few kids have not lost a paper to the wind. But unlike the other stories that have consistently good endings, that made sense in regards to the rest of the story, I don’t understand this ending. The child wants to know why the judges couldn’t admit they didn’t like the painting, but I didn’t get that. The judges couldn’t decide what the painting represented, but they never argued that it was not good, especially not good enough to win the top prize. I am baffled. Ms. Cannon has always ended her stories satisfyingly and made sense of the story. I was surprised to see the ending flipped onto the adults.
The superb Cannon line of books have won gobs of awards. All have won a Reader’s Choice Award, along with an Indie excellence, Pinnacle Achievement, and Next Generation Indie award, to name a few. I expect My Fingerprint Masterpiece will be no different. If you have enjoyed any of the past five Cannon books, I think you will enjoy My Fingerprint Masterpiece. It is Cannon’s first foray into a story for a story, not a message, and I like it. I would love to read more of her stories for the sake of the story. Cannon is an excellent storyteller. I loved the past four and like My Fingerprint Masterpiece. I think kids will also.
MY FINGERPAINT MASTERPIECE. Text copyright © 2014 by Sherrill S. Cannon. Illustrations copyright © 2014 by Kalpart Team. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Co., Houston TX.
Learn more about My Fingerprint Masterpiece HERE.
Also by Sherrill S. Cannon & the Kalpart Team
2 Awards — review #64
2 Awards — review #51
6 Awards — review #51
5 Awards — review #114
.3 Awards – review #256