Perfect Picture Book Friday: The Art Lesson
Title: The Art Lesson
Author/Illustrator: Tomie dePaola
Publication Info: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1989
Intended audience: Ages 4 and up
Genre: nonfiction, picture book
Themes/topics: art, autobiography, individuality, persistence
Opening and synopsis: ”Tommy knew he wanted to be an artist when he grew up. He drew pictures everywhere he went. It was his favorite thing to do.” Tommy wants to be an artist. He can’t wait to start school and take weekly lessons from the art teacher. His cousins tell him real artists never copy. What will Tommy do when the art teacher has the class copy her drawings?
Why I like this book: Tommy is a boy who knows what he wants — to be an artist. He holds fast to this dream even in the face of discouragement, especially from his first-grade teacher.
Resources: Houghton Mifflin has a “Meet the Author” page with biographical information about dePaola. Here’s a reader’s theater script for the book. Ginger at Homeschoolshare.com has developed an entire study unit around the book. Finally, this book shows the value of teaching children art. My hands-down favorite site for art lessons is TeachKidsArt.
Every Friday bloggers review “Perfect Picture Books.” Find a complete list of book reviews organized by topic, genre and blogger at author Susanna Leonard Hill’s site.
28 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday: The Art Lesson”
This sounds a great one for parents as much as kids to show them that creativity is so important and to stick to your guns. I sound like I’ve read it 🙂 Thanks Kirsten!
Tommy is such a determined little fellow. It’s hard not to love him.
I just love Tomie dePaola, and this is one I haven’t read yet. I will be checking it out, as one of my daughters is a budding artist. Thanks for the recommendation, Kirsten!
She’ll enjoy it, I’m sure. It is certainly a motivating book.
Oh, I would love to read this. An art book AND a book about helping kids find what they want to do when they grow up AND by Tomie dePaola! Why have I not seen this before? And why does my library not have it?!
Bad library! LOL. Read it, love it, share it! – I have!
Bad library, is right! I have to admit that I am super lucky, as I can draw from then entire LA County library system, which is HUGE. Can you get it on interlibrary loan?
How great! A picture book autobiography of the great Tomie! I look forward to your choices eery week Kirsten – you are responsible for a huge percentage of our non-fiction list! 🙂 Thanks for sharing another great one!
Susanna, it’s so helpful for me to study these books. I could write a nonfiction review almost every day!
Kirsten, this is one of the many, many books of Tomie de Paola that I adore. We need a few of these on PPPF!
His autobiographical stories are some of my favorites. And they aren’t boring, which is great for kids who resist nonfiction.
I’m glad Tommy didn’t allow himself to be thwarted in his determination to be an artist! Too often dreams like that are squelched by well-intentioned but thoughtless remarks and actions on the part of teachers and other adults, unfortunately.
But all you have to do is find the one person to nourish your dream. In Tommy’s case, it was that art teacher.
What a great book. I will have to check it out. I love that he stuck with his passion. If we all did that, the world would be a much happier place!
Kirsten, this is a great book! I love the self-portrait. I have seen it and just love the message. Doesn’t hurt to be a fan of Tomie dePaola. His books are just wonderful! Have met him twice at book signings back in the 90s. Great choice today!
And he’s so prolific. There always so many wonderful titles to choose from.
Wow! That would have been a treat!
We own this book along with many other books by Tomie. I haven’t read one of his books that I didn’t like. I am amazed at how many books that he has written — I am constantly finding new ones to enjoy!
I love “Pascual and the Kitchen Angels” too. He has so many great books!
Thanks for the introduction to this book. I love some of Tomie de Paola’s other books but did not know this one. And thank you for the link to TeachKidsArt – I love finding new art ideas to enjoy with my kindergarten kids.
rubber boots and elf shoes
I’m sure I read this book and I am pretty sure I love it! I love Tommie dePaola’s books! 🙂
Ha, ha. I’m sure you’d remember it if you ever came across is again.
Love any of Tomie dePaola’s books. Would certainly love to get this one just for myself being a novice artist waaayyy back in my younger days…lol.
It is very inspirational. It’s amazing how many of us are creative until self-doubt comes into play. Tommy certainly isn’t letting self-doubt creep in.
Sounds like a fun book, especially since it is based on Tomie’s own life!
You can see how he became so successful. He had such determination!