The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art by Barb Rosenstock


NF PB 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!


The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art
Author: Barb Rosenstock
Illustrator: Mary Grandpré
Published February 11th, 2014 by Alfred A. Knopf

Goodreads Summary: In this exuberant celebration of creativity, Barb Rosenstock and Mary Grandpre tell the fascinating story of Vasily Kandinsky, one of the very first painters of abstract art. Throughout his life, Kandinsky experienced colors as sounds, and sounds and colors–and bold, groundbreaking works burst forth from his noisy paint box.

Review: I love the visual arts. Growing up with a father that ran an art museum, going to visit museums and learning about art was part of my life. Throughout all of this exploration, I found that I loved modern art more than any other: Seurat, Rauschenberg, Picasso, etc. Kandinsky is one of the artists whose art I really enjoyed. This book let me see into Kandinsky’s mind, and see how abstract art came to be through his synesthesia. Fascinating!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This is a perfect introduction to Kandinsky and abstract art. Abstraction is a hard concept to understand (though kids seem to get it more than kids), and this book helps explain how abstract art came to be. I can see this book being used in a lit circle/jig saw type fashion where kids learn about different creative people through narrative nonfiction biographies and research, write an evidence-based biography, and then share them with the other groups.

Discussion Questions: How did Kandinsky change art?; Have you ever had teachers/parents who didn’t understand you? What happened?; What is synesthesia? How did it affect the art Kandinsky made?

Book Trailer: 

We Flagged: “His artist friends understood. They too were tired of painting pretty landscapes and pretty ladies. They thought art needed to change.
‘Art should make you feel,’ Vasya told them. ‘Like music.’
‘Exactly!’ said his friends. But none of them knew how to paint feelings…
until the day Vasya grew brave enough…
and invited the world to see the paintings roaring from his noisy paint box.”

Read This If You Loved: Linnea in Monet’s Garden by Christina Björk, Sky Color by Peter H. Reynolds, Sandy’s Circus: A Story About Alexander Calder by Tanya Lee Stone, Art by Patrick McDonnell, Art & Max by David Wiesner, Concerning the Spirituality in Art by Wassily Kandinsky

Recommended For: 

readaloudbuttonsmall classroomlibrarybuttonsmall litcirclesbuttonsmall


18 thoughts on “The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art by Barb Rosenstock”

  1. I loved this book too! One of my fave picture books of the year for sure. So glad to see it featured on your blog today.

  2. This looks fabulous. I love books about art. This just came in an order at school yesterday so I will be reading it soon. 🙂

  3. Hello there Kellee, love the additional text-set that you included. This book has been in my radar for quite awhile now, and I have pinned this title in my books-to-find board. Thank you for sharing so many suggested activities and guide questions that can be interwoven into the telling of this story. 🙂 I also love books that are art-related. We’re hoping to have a reading theme on this soon.


Leave a Comment