Art & Max

( 8 )

Overview

Max and Arthur are friends who share an interest in painting. Arthur is an accomplished painter; Max is a beginner. Max’s first attempt at using a paintbrush sends the two friends on a whirlwind trip through various artistic media, which turn out to have unexpected pitfalls. Although Max is inexperienced, he’s courageous—and a quick learner. His energy and enthusiasm bring the adventure to its triumphant conclusion. Beginners everywhere will take heart.

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Overview

Max and Arthur are friends who share an interest in painting. Arthur is an accomplished painter; Max is a beginner. Max’s first attempt at using a paintbrush sends the two friends on a whirlwind trip through various artistic media, which turn out to have unexpected pitfalls. Although Max is inexperienced, he’s courageous—and a quick learner. His energy and enthusiasm bring the adventure to its triumphant conclusion. Beginners everywhere will take heart.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Three-time Caldecott winner Wiesner (Flotsam) introduces a desert lizard named Art, a self-important portrait painter who undergoes a metamorphosis, inside and out, when his pesky lizard friend, Max, decides he wants to paint, too. "What should I paint?" asks Max; the narcissistic Art says, "Well... you could paint me." Literal-minded Max begins applying blue to Art's knobbly skin. A series of philosophical questions arises: is Art still Art when his painted coat bursts off him mid-tantrum, like a reptilian sun gone nova? Is he still Art when Max douses him with water and the remaining color drains right out of him, rendering him transparent? Is he still Art when his outline collapses into a pile of tangled wire? As Max attempts to reconstruct his friend, an early effort has Art resembling a preschooler's spiky drawing of a monster ("More detail, I think," Art says drily). This small-scale and surprisingly comedic story takes place against a placid backdrop of pale desert colors, which recedes to keep the focus squarely on the dynamic between the two lizards and the wide range of emotions that Wiesner masterfully evokes. Ages 5–8. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

"A thought-provoking exploration of the creative process....Funny, clever, full of revelations to those who look carefully—this title represents picture-book making at its best."—School Library Journal, starred review

"Children will giggle and marvel....Triple Caldecott winner Wiesner delivers a wildly trippy, funny and original interpretation of the artistic process."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"This small-scale and surprisingly comedic story takes place against a placid backdrop of pale desert colors, which recedes to keep the focus squarely on the dynamic between the two lizards and the wide range of emotions that Wiesner masterfully evokes."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Sophisticated and playful, this beautiful mind-stretcher invites viewers to think about art's fundamentals: line, color, shape, and imaginative freedom."—Booklist, starred review

"[A] visual meditation on the effects of illustrative style. . . . Detailed with Wiesner's signature craft and wit."—The Horn Book

"Longtime children's book legend David Wiesner takes exciting risks with his newest book about two art-making critters."—The Huffington Post

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Impetuous young Max, an anthropomorphic frog- or lizard-like creature is impressed by the painting of larger, lizard-like Arthur. The artist sneers at Max's insistence that he can paint too, but finally agrees to let him. "What should I paint?" Max asks. When told he could paint Arthur, Max proceeds to paint him, literally, all over. Efforts to clean Arthur result in more serious problems, including elimination of all color, leaving only a jumble of lines. Max manages to put these into an outline of Arthur. Blasting colors at him then results in a pointillist Arthur. Other creatures act as an audience for Max's struggles in these double-page reviews of contemporary art styles from Calder to Pollock. In the end, Max and Arthur are painting away together in the desert setting. Wiesner uses acrylic, pastel, watercolor, and india ink to create his detailed, naturalistic, humorous illustrations for this surreal adventure. Be sure to lift the jacket to see the contrasting cover beneath. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4—Underlying this tale of a feisty friendship between two lizards is a thought-provoking exploration of the creative process. Readers first encounter Arthur rendering a formal portrait of a stately reptile, one of several reacting to the unfolding drama in the desert. Frenetic Max dashes into the scene; he also wants to paint, but lacks ideas. Self-assured Art suggests, "Well…you could paint me." Max's literal response yields a more colorful Art, but the master's outrage causes his acrylic armor to shatter. His texture falls in fragments, leaving an undercoating of dusty pastels vulnerable to passing breezes. Each of Max's attempts to solve Art's problems leads to unexpected outcomes, until his mentor is reduced to an inked outline, one that ultimately unravels. Wiesner deftly uses panels and full spreads to take Max from his "aha" moment through the humorous and uncertain moments of reconstructing Art. Differentiated fonts clarify who's speaking the snippets of dialogue. Wielding a vacuum cleaner that soaks up the ruined scales, Max sprays a colorful stream, à la Jackson Pollock, that lands, surprisingly, in a Pointillist manner on the amazed lizard. The conclusion reveals that his fresh look inspires the senior artist with new vision, too. Funny, clever, full of revelations to those who look carefully—this title represents picture-book making at its best. Wiesner's inventive story will generate conversations about media, style, and, of course, "What Is Art?" It will resonate with children who live in a world in which actions are deemed mistakes or marvels, depending on who's judging.—Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
Two lizards, one an unbridled enthusiast and the other a restrained snoot, stumble along a circuitous creative path together, making art through mishap and engaging all kinds of media along the way. When impetuous Max decides to paint deliberate Art, he impulsively covers him with sloppy splashes of vibrant color. Art explodes, sending all his rainbow scales flying, and he is suddenly, inexplicably, stripped to a pastel image. In successive efforts to help restore him, Max inadvertently reduces Art to washes of watercolor and finally a spare line drawing. With a tug on the tail, Art's figure unravels completely, and Max, the gleeful amateur, must use instinct and imagination to re-create his friend. Children will giggle and marvel at each transformation, ogling some images that bleed beyond page borders and others that appear within crisp panels, hanging in white space like artwork on a gallery wall. Treble Caldecott winner Wiesner delivers a wildly trippy, funny and original interpretation of the artistic process. In this illustrator's world, mind-blowing art comes from accident, if you're brave enough (like Max) to smile and take an awkward leap. (Picture book. 4-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618756636
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/4/2010
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 286,888
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: BRL (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 11.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

David Wiesner

David Wiesner's interest in visual storytelling dates back to high school days when he made silent movies and drew wordless comic books. Born and raised in Bridgewater, New Jersey, he graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Illustration. While a student, he created a painting nine feet long, which he now recognizes as the genesis of Free Fall, his first book of his own authorship, for which he was awarded a Caldecott Honor Medal in 1989. David won his first Caldecott Medal in 1992 for Tuesday, and he has gone on to win twice more: in 2002 for The Three Pigs and in 2007 for Flotsam. He is only the second person in the award’s history to win the Caldecott Medal three times. David and his wife, Kim Kahng, and their two children live near Philadelphia, where he devotes full time to illustration and she pursues her career as a surgeon.

Biography

David Wiesner's interest in visual storytelling dates back to high school days when he made silent movies and drew wordless comic books. Born and raised in Bridgewater, New Jersey, he graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Illustration. While a student, he created a painting nine feet long, which he now recognizes as the genesis of Free Fall, his first book of his own authorship, for which he was awarded a Caldecott Honor Medal in 1989.

David won his first Caldecott Medal in 1992 for Tuesday, and has gone on to win twice more: in 2002 for The Three Pigs and in 2007 for Flotsam. In addition writing and illustrating his own picture books, he has illustrated stories for many other children's authors.

Good To Know

  • At a young age, he created wordless comic books such as Slop the Wonder Pig and silent movies like his kung-fu vampire film The Saga of Butcula.

  • As an undergraduate at Rhode Island School of Design, he met two mentors: Tom Sgouros and David Macaulay who taught him the fundamentals of illustration and fostered his creative imagination. He dedicated Tuesday to Sgouros and The Three Pigs to Macaulay.

  • Wiesner is a three-time Caldecott winner and only the second person in the award's long history to claim that distinction.
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      1. Hometown:
        Outside Philadelphia, P.A.
      1. Date of Birth:
        February 5, 1956
      2. Place of Birth:
        Bridgewater, NJ
      1. Education:
        Rhode Island School of Design -- BFA in Illustration.
      2. Website:

    Customer Reviews

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    Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
    • Posted March 21, 2011

      Love this book! And my son does too!

      I bought this book because my 2 1/2 year old is named Max. And it turned out to be one of my best book purchases for him. He LOVES it! He has me read it to him 3-4 times a night. And then he'll just look through it over and over again asking questions. He can not get enough. And I love it because of the art. It's beautifully done!

      1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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