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Dear Art and History People,

My name is Noonie Norton, and I’m a


brilliant artist. The only small problem is that I haven’t
been discovered yet. See, most brilliant artists aren’t
actually discovered until they’re dead, so I thought
I should explain my art while I’m still alive. That
way there will be no possibility of misinterpretation.
Because—well, tomorrow I might be trampled by a herd
of kindergartners or I might choke to death on a rotten
nut. You never know what can happen to an artist.
You should definitely take a whole lot of notes
because in a hundred years people will want to know
everything about me. They’ll want to know about
my life when I was five years old, and fourteen years
old, and twenty-three years old, and thirty years old
(if I make it that long). But now I’m ten, so we’ll start
right here.
Dear Art and History People,
My name is Noonie Norton, and I’m a
brilliant artist. The only small problem is that I haven’t
been discovered yet. See, most brilliant artists aren’t
actually discovered until they’re dead, so I thought
I should explain my art while I’m still alive. That
way there will be no possibility of misinterpretation.
Because—well, tomorrow I might be trampled by a herd
of kindergartners or I might choke to death on a rotten
nut. You never know what can happen to an artist.
You should definitely take a whole lot of notes
because in a hundred years people will want to know
everything about me. They’ll want to know about
my life when I was five years old, and fourteen years
old, and twenty-three years old, and thirty years old
(if I make it that long). But now I’m ten, so we’ll start
right here.
My career began like this: I painted my first self- never seen a six-year-old paint herself so blue before.
portrait in kindergarten. That was the start of my Ordinary kindergartners paint themselves smiling
Blue Period. My mom died, which was the beginning yellow or cheery pink. He showed my self-portrait to
of everything horrible. Then my sad dad, who didn’t the principal, who showed it to the school counselor,
know what else to do, decided to leave me with Aunt who showed it to Aunt Sylvia and Uncle Ralph. Of
Sylvia and Uncle Ralph. Double horrible. course. Then all of them talked and talked—about
I was very, very me—and decided that I’d probably grow out of
blue. My face was blue, being blue.
my body was blue, my I hung that first self-portrait in
hair was blue. Not the back of my closet with
a pretty blue, but a a thumbtack. I can look
dark, stormy black at my blue self whenever
blue. My mouth I want. It’s good to
was in a jagged remember where you’ve
blue squiggle been. The beginning
from one side of of my Blue Period was
my messy head a lousy, rotten time,
to the other. and things have been
I’m sure my squiggly blue ever
kindergarten since.
teacher, Mr. I still live with
Pitts, was Aunt Sylvia and
afraid. He’d Uncle Ralph and my
probably cousin, Junior. This

8 9
My career began like this: I painted my first self- never seen a six-year-old paint herself so blue before.
portrait in kindergarten. That was the start of my Ordinary kindergartners paint themselves smiling
Blue Period. My mom died, which was the beginning yellow or cheery pink. He showed my self-portrait to
of everything horrible. Then my sad dad, who didn’t the principal, who showed it to the school counselor,
know what else to do, decided to leave me with Aunt who showed it to Aunt Sylvia and Uncle Ralph. Of
Sylvia and Uncle Ralph. Double horrible. course. Then all of them talked and talked—about
I was very, very me—and decided that I’d probably grow out of
blue. My face was blue, being blue.
my body was blue, my I hung that first self-portrait in
hair was blue. Not the back of my closet with
a pretty blue, but a a thumbtack. I can look
dark, stormy black at my blue self whenever
blue. My mouth I want. It’s good to
was in a jagged remember where you’ve
blue squiggle been. The beginning
from one side of of my Blue Period was
my messy head a lousy, rotten time,
to the other. and things have been
I’m sure my squiggly blue ever
kindergarten since.
teacher, Mr. I still live with
Pitts, was Aunt Sylvia and
afraid. He’d Uncle Ralph and my
probably cousin, Junior. This

8 9
would probably be fine if I were a sunny-yellow or a on a sweaty camel with my dad. I’d rather be just
cheery-pink fourth-grader. Unfortunately, my aunt and about anywhere but here.
uncle don’t understand brilliant-artist fourth-graders a I sent a letter off to him a couple of weeks ago.
single bit. Most people don’t. My mom would have, of Another letter.
course, if she hadn’t died when I was in kindergarten. I drew a picture of my blue self with blue foam
And my dad? Well, he collects all my work. And gurgling out of my blue mouth. I stuffed it in the
any day now he’s going to understand just about envelope and sealed the envelope with Scotch
everything. I’m sure of it. tape. As usual. See, I’ve sent my dad about a
My dad left me here, with my aunt and uncle, hundred letters almost exactly like this one, all
because he was sure I’d be “better off in a real with my very original art inside. It’s important
home with a real family.” That’s exactly what to remind him that my art is much better than
he said. Because, see, his job is doing those weird cave drawings. He writes back
archaeological digs in all sorts of weird immediately, and sometimes he even comes
faraway places. He digs up old bones and home. Pronto. It’s worked before.
old pots and stares at old crusty drawings Last time he came home pronto was when I drew
made in caves about a million years myself with a blue face covered in about a hundred
ago. He didn’t think I would want to be green dots. It was obviously a terrible case of the
sinking into tar pits, spelunking through Moldy Blue Fever from eating Aunt Sylvia’s
caves, traveling all the time—“because, mushy green vegetables. He also came home
really, how fun can that possibly be for when I drew myself with an enormous blue head.
you, Noonie? No regular school? No Definitely Bloated Blue Brain from too much
friends?” That’s what he said. But I think homework. And before that I had the most hor-
it all sounds pretty darn fantastic. I’d rible cases of Blue Bathtime Rot, Blue Flu, and
rather be living in Timbuktu and riding strange, mysterious Blue Warts. All very deadly.

10 11
would probably be fine if I were a sunny-yellow or a on a sweaty camel with my dad. I’d rather be just
cheery-pink fourth-grader. Unfortunately, my aunt and about anywhere but here.
uncle don’t understand brilliant-artist fourth-graders a I sent a letter off to him a couple of weeks ago.
single bit. Most people don’t. My mom would have, of Another letter.
course, if she hadn’t died when I was in kindergarten. I drew a picture of my blue self with blue foam
And my dad? Well, he collects all my work. And gurgling out of my blue mouth. I stuffed it in the
any day now he’s going to understand just about envelope and sealed the envelope with Scotch
everything. I’m sure of it. tape. As usual. See, I’ve sent my dad about a
My dad left me here, with my aunt and uncle, hundred letters almost exactly like this one, all
because he was sure I’d be “better off in a real with my very original art inside. It’s important
home with a real family.” That’s exactly what to remind him that my art is much better than
he said. Because, see, his job is doing those weird cave drawings. He writes back
archaeological digs in all sorts of weird immediately, and sometimes he even comes
faraway places. He digs up old bones and home. Pronto. It’s worked before.
old pots and stares at old crusty drawings Last time he came home pronto was when I drew
made in caves about a million years myself with a blue face covered in about a hundred
ago. He didn’t think I would want to be green dots. It was obviously a terrible case of the
sinking into tar pits, spelunking through Moldy Blue Fever from eating Aunt Sylvia’s
caves, traveling all the time—“because, mushy green vegetables. He also came home
really, how fun can that possibly be for when I drew myself with an enormous blue head.
you, Noonie? No regular school? No Definitely Bloated Blue Brain from too much
friends?” That’s what he said. But I think homework. And before that I had the most hor-
it all sounds pretty darn fantastic. I’d rible cases of Blue Bathtime Rot, Blue Flu, and
rather be living in Timbuktu and riding strange, mysterious Blue Warts. All very deadly.

10 11
Today after school I ran straight to the mailbox,
as always, to see if he’d written back. And guess what?
There wasn’t just a letter inside, but a package! Sure
enough, it was addressed to me: Noonie Norton! It had
Dear Dad, scribbly letters on it in some foreign language and a
funny-looking stained stamp.
I’m afraid that I’
ve
sickness. I’m su caught a very fatal
re
Cousin Junior, b I caught it from
ec
I hate to tell you ause he likes to bite.
,b
case of the BITIN ut . . . it’s a terrible
G
mouth is foamin BLUE R ABIES. My indeed. I’d
love
g
I think you bett nearly all the time. So
ie,
Dear Noon s so u n d serious tu n a te ly, I
oe r
bi es ? That d P RONTO. Unfo very soon,
er r a y ou
before it’s too la come home PRONTO,
Blu e to se e ome
ore than . I’ll be h
nothing m ju st yet, Noonie k in China. I’m bu
sy
h om e w or d yak.
te. can ’t
but I h
fl
a
y
v e to fi nish up th
be the
is
fi r st bo nes of th
e w
and I’m be
il
ing
g what may ch opsticks
Love, an a ly z
I’m also le
in to u se
arning how om a Chinese master
y fr
.
ig r a p h It will be
Noonie taught ca
ll
r the n ew bl u e picture
of you.
a ll y ou r other
Thanks fo m y co ll ection of ou r mom had
co urse, to y ou that y t
add ed , of ever te ll just abou
res. Did I e painted
blue pictu IOD? For a while sh
PER
a PURPLE le.
in g in purp
everyth .
h you now
h I w er e home wit
Wis
Love,
Dad r
about you
Au n t Sy lvia know icine, like
r
ou let you a good healthy med .
P.S. Will y aybe help
newest il
ln es s? M eam, will
a te -c h u nk ice cr
triple ch
ocol help, too.
ia l p r es ents will
ec
e these sp
P.P.S. I hop
Today after school I ran straight to the mailbox,
as always, to see if he’d written back. And guess what?
There wasn’t just a letter inside, but a package! Sure
enough, it was addressed to me: Noonie Norton!! It had
Dear Dad, scribbly letters on it in some foreign language and a
funny-looking stained stamp.
I’m afraid that I’
ve
sickness. I’m su caught a very fatal
re
Cousin Junior, b I caught it from
ec
I hate to tell you ause he likes to bite.
,b
case of the BITIN ut . . . it’s a terrible
G
mouth is foamin BLUE R ABIES. My indeed. I’d
love
g
I think you bett nearly all the time. So
ie,
Dear Noon s so u n d serious tu n a te ly, I
oe r
bi es ? That d P RONTO. Unfo very soon,
er r a y ou
before it’s too la come home PRONTO,
Blu e to se e ome
ore than . I’ll be h
nothing m ju st yet, Noonie k in China. I’m bu
sy
h om e w or d yak.
te. can ’t
but I h
fl
a
y
v e to fi nish up th
be the
is
fi r st bo nes of th
e w
and I’m be
il
ing
g what may ch opsticks
Love, an a ly z
I’m also le
in to u se
arning how om a Chinese master
y fr
.
ig r a p h It will be
Noonie taught ca
ll
r the n ew bl u e picture
of you.
a ll y ou r other
Thanks fo m y co ll ection of ou r mom had
co urse, to y ou that y t
add ed , of ever te ll just abou
res. Did I e painted
blue pictu IOD? For a while sh
PER
a PURPLE le.
in g in purp
everyth .
h you now
h I w er e home wit
Wis
Love,
Dad r
about you
Au n t Sy lvia know icine, like
r
ou let you a good healthy med .
P.S. Will y aybe help
newest il
ln es s? M eam, will
a te -c h u nk ice cr
triple ch
ocol help, too.
ia l p r es ents will
ec
e these sp
P.P.S. I hop
Yak bones? Who really cares about wild grimy Art and History People, I’ve decided that today
old yak bones? And Aunt Sylvia curing me? Hmmph. is the very last day of my Blue Period. Tomorrow my
Even with my favorite ice cream she could Purple Period will officially begin.
never cure me. Well, not the way my It will be a very important
dad could. Not really. period in my career, and I
But at the very bottom of my think you should pay close
package was something much attention and take a whole
better than a bone or a chopstick. lot of notes so there will
I was afraid to even touch it be no possibility of
because everything good gets misinterpretation. Good
ruined. things will definitely
It was a purple hat all the happen in my Purple
way from China! I put it on my head Period. I’m sure
pronto, even though it smelled funny. And of of it. Why? Well,
course it fit my head perfectly. Most likely I will never because my mom
take my purple Chinese hat off ever again. Because was purple and
inside my new artist hat my dad pinned a napkin. becau
It wasn’t just any ordinary napkin. Oh, no. On one se
ag
side the napkin said the name of some café in Paris, i rl
can
France. And on the other side was a purple painting ’t be blue forever.
Right ?
by . . . my mom! From a long, long time ago. There
were purple waves and purple swirls, and in the very
center there was a very little picture of my very purple
mom. Brilliant.

14 15
Yak bones? Who really cares about wild grimy Art and History People, I’ve decided that today
old yak bones? And Aunt Sylvia curing me? Hmmph. is the very last day of my Blue Period. Tomorrow my
Even with my favorite ice cream she could Purple Period will officially begin.
never cure me. Well, not the way my It will be a very important
dad could. Not really. period in my career, and I
But at the very bottom of my think you should pay close
package was something much attention and take a whole
better than a bone or a chopstick. lot of notes so there will
I was afraid to even touch it be no possibility of
because everything good gets misinterpretation. Good
ruined. things will definitely
It was a purple hat all the happen in my Purple
way from China! I put it on my head Period. I’m sure
pronto, even though it smelled funny. And of of it. Why? Well,
course it fit my head perfectly. Most likely I will never because my mom
take my purple Chinese hat off ever again. Because was purple and
inside my new artist hat my dad pinned a napkin. becau
It wasn’t just any ordinary napkin. Oh, no. On one se
ag
side the napkin said the name of some café in Paris, i rl
can
France. And on the other side was a purple painting ’t be blue forever.
Right ?
by . . . my mom! From a long, long time ago. There
were purple waves and purple swirls, and in the very
center there was a very little picture of my very purple
mom. Brilliant.

14

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