Shusha doesn’t look like a fairy-tale princess. She has a mane of wild curls
and a mischievous grin and she loves to draw and to dream. Little Shusha lives
in a palace with her parents and her two sisters, who wear nice dresses and
have neatly combed hair. They think Shusha looks like a sheep, but she doesn’t
care. She collects leaves, watches insects, smells flowers, listens to the
birds, and dreams that she’s a famous artist. When her birthday draws near and
her messy room has to be cleaned and painted, Shusha is sent off to her
grandmother. Shusha and her granny love hanging out together, but after three
days Shusha goes back to the palace with a new set of paints granny bought her.
When she opens the door of her room, it is empty and the walls are as white as
snow. Shusha takes her new paints and begins painting on the walls, until
suddenly she hears footsteps approaching. She gets a fright and hides away,
because she knows it is forbidden to paint on the palace walls. One of the
palace’s high officials enters with some of his helpers, and when they see the
colorful scene to her surprise they break out in admiring exclamations. “A
masterpiece! Magnificent, the last word …” declares the high official
self-importantly. The King and Queen come, and they too extravagantly praise
the paintings. Shusha comes out of hiding, and everyone applauds her. Proud of
his daughter the artist, the King gives her special permission to paint
anywhere she may choose.
Alon Curiel’s book encourages creativity and individualism and deals with such
questions as what it means to be an artist, what is creative freedom, and how
to nurture a child’s talents.
Gil-li Alon Curiel