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.