Nature's Paintbox

A Seasonal Gallery of Art and Verse

  • Interest Level: Grade 2 - Grade 4
  • Reading Level: Grade 3

How would you capture winter’s crispness, spring’s softness, summer’s freshness, and autumn’s richness? In this inspiring title, poet Patricia Thomas imagines each season rendered in a different art medium. Pen and ink, with spots of color, capture winter’s mood, while pastel chalks make spring flowers bloom into life. The see-through hues of watercolors celebrate summer’s warmth, while vibrant oils perfectly paint fall’s majestic scenes. Artist Craig Orback takes up the poem’s challenge in his marvelous illustrations, using each of the mediums described. Just as the seasons move seamlessly into one another, so too do the art styles blend together, then emerge in full splendor, and blend again as the next season approaches.

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Interest Level Grade 2 - Grade 4
Reading Level Grade 3
Genre Picture Books, Science
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Millbrook Press ™
Language English
Publication Date 2007-08-01
Reading Counts! Level 3.2
Reading Counts! Points 3.0
Text Type Fiction
BISACS JUV003000, JUV009100
Dewey 811'.54
Graphics Full-color illustrations
ATOS Reading Level 5.0
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 115929
Accelerated Reader® Points 0.5
Features Awards, Original artwork, and Reviewed

Author: Patricia Thomas

Illustrator: Craig Orback

Craig Orback is a freelance children's book illustrator living in the Northwest and received his B.F.A. in illustration from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle in 1998. He has illustrated Nature's Paintbox, The Can Man, Keeping The Promise: A Torah's Journey, and other award-winning children's books. He teaches children's book illustration and oil painting at several local colleges. In his free time he enjoys painting landscapes and sharing his books with kids during school and library visits.


  • Book Links Lasting Connection, Winner, 2007
  • Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year, Winner, 2007


Book Links

“This clever combination of poetry and art appreciation presents a year’s worth of verses that describe the colors of the seasons.”
Book Links

Kirkus Reviews

“There is a strikingly rare synergy between the poetry and the illustrations in this truly remarkable addition to the pantheon of books on the four seasons for school-aged children.”
Kirkus Reviews

School Library Journal

“The art is lovely – a snow-covered wall in black and white melts into a spring pastel with the blurred edges of chalk. Summer’s blue sky deepens with a purple cast as the watercolor warm days become a frenzy of oranges and golds carrying youngsters full circle to a pen-and-inked page of winter once again.”
School Library Journal