Sunday, June 21, 2009

Two Great Art Books for Kids

I love books about art for children. Reading and thinking about art outside of craft time helps kids put creativity in a larger context. It's fun for them to realize that other people love to draw and paint, too -- even some grownups! In "Drawing Lessons from a Bear," David McPhail adopts the persona of a (now grown-up) bear to essentially tell the story of how he became an artist. His bear character recalls how, as just a young cub, he loved to draw on the floor of his den; he'd wake up during hibernation to draw; in the summer, he'd draw all day long. Eventually, the bear grows up to become a professional artist. He is offered awards like houses and cars, but, being a bear, has no need for such things. All he wants to do, even as a grown-up, is draw. The message is that drawing makes him happy and he uses it to make others happy.


The drawings are warm and engaging, and I like the message that you can tell what you really have a passion for if it's what you want to do all day long! But my favorite part of the book is at the end, when the bear asks his child readers if they love to draw, too. And, if so, they can become artists. All they have to do is shout, "I AM AN ARTIST!": "There. Now you are an artist. Forever and always."

"Lucy's Picture," by Nicola Moon, is a great introduction to the genre of collages (one of our personal favorites). When Lucy's teacher sets up the paints for her students during art time, Lucy asks if she can make a collage instead. She gathers materials like feathers, sand, and other items to assemble a beautiful collage. At the end of the story, it is revealed that she's made the collage for her grandfather, who is blind, and he can "see" the picture by feeling it. It's a great way to explain the idea behind a collage: a picture you can feel!

I found both of these at our local library.
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