Autobiographical · Beautiful · Colorful · Critters · Nature

This is Your World: The Story of Bob Ross

Written by: Sophia Gholz

Illustrated by: Robin Boyden

Fred Rogers. LeVar Burton. Bill Nye. Bob Ross.

Growing up, these men used television to share their passions with kids just like me, and they left an imprint on my life. I remember introducing Bob Ross to my oldest son when he was still very small. The Joy of Painting was finally available to stream, and my husband often chose it for Bob’s calming nature. It’s funny how watching something you enjoyed as a child shifts your adult mind. Just hearing Bob’s voice made me feel lighter, happier, calmer. I may have joked about “happy little trees” as a teenager, but as an adult I realized just how talented Bob was, and my heart ached for a childhood long gone.

“This is Your World: The Story of Bob Ross” is a beautiful tribute to a beautiful soul. I would often wonder aloud about Bob while our (then) little family watched Bob paint mountains and clouds. Gholz did an excellent job sharing Bob’s story, weaving Bob’s own quotes throughout the book. I had no idea Bill Alexander, a fellow TV painter, inspired Bob with the alla prima painting style or that Bob spent so much time teaching and certifying others. I didn’t know he taped 31 seasons – some in just a few days time – or that he never got paid for being on his television show.

Gholz included in-depth author notes, references, and commentary – something I always appreciate if the kids or I are curious about learning more on the book subject. One special touch here was a palette of Bob’s painting colors, which of course included some of my favorites: phthalo blue, titanium white, yellow ochre, and cadmium yellow.

“This is Your World” is made complete with Boyden’s illustrations; they are as serene and gentle as Bob himself. I was constantly looking at the sketch markings, the use of color, and each new little critter. My kids were especially excited about the critter shaped clouds. (My three year old was very excited about the dinosaur!) I know Bob would absolutely love Boyden’s work, and we will definitely be looking for more of his work.

“This is Your World: The Story of Bob Ross” is a wonderful book for fans of the kind-hearted artist, as well as an encouragement to dreamers alike. Bob made a difference because he cared and he saw the best in others; that’s a beautiful way to live.

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