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4.0 4
by Patrick McDonnell

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A rhyming tribute to a budding young artist.


A rhyming tribute to a budding young artist.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Art serves as a boy's name and favorite pastime in this cheerful sequence, which echoes Crockett Johnson's Harold and the Purple Crayon. McDonnell (The Gift of Nothing) lures readers along with antic visuals and a catchy rhyming text about "Art and his art/ Can you tell them apart?" The boy stands about an inch-and-a-half tall in the squarish pages, and in one Jackson Pollock-esque spread, he is indeed covered in his medium. Wearing his blue baseball hat backward and attired in Dennis the Menace fashion, he reaches with a brush to fill the vast white space all around him with red, yellow and blue daubs and spatters, zigzags and spirals, drips and dots. Then he grabs a thick black pencil and doodles a flat house, a basic tree and a cartoon dog. All this activity wears him out, and when he wakes from a nap, he sees his creations tacked to the fridge: "Held there by magnets/ (stars and a heart)/ Put there by mother/ 'Cause mother loves Art." The hero, drawn neatly in a clean black line, with his compact body, shock of hair and giant smile, recalls everybody from Richard Outcault's Yellow Kid to Bill Watterson's Calvin. McDonnell takes a familiar topic-an imaginative boy who loves to draw-and injects this volume with an exuberant comic-strip sensibility. Ages 3-6. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Talented cartoonist Patrick McDonnell, whose comic strip Mutts is widely syndicated throughout the country, has produced a simple but thought-provoking picture book for young readers. The title is a double entendre, both the name of the young protagonist and his obsession. Yes, Art is an artist, whose brush produces graceful pastel-colored squiggles, dramatic splatters, intricate repetitive lines, and a myriad of other shapes. He races from page to page with dizzying energy, producing abstractions that ultimately resolve themselves into doodles illustrating a dream almost as energetic as Art himself. And when Art wakes up, he finds his pictures displayed on the refrigerator because, as McDonnell endearingly puts it, "MOTHER LOVES ART." This would make a delightful read-aloud book for the very young, with its play on words and simple, rhyming text, as well as the engaging illustrations in the artist's signature style. 2006, Little Brown and Company, Ages 3 to 5.
—Michele Tremaine
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-In a play on words that carries throughout the story, Art, a young boy, joyfully tries his hand at all kinds of art. He "DRAWS SCRIBBLES THAT SQUIGGLE," "SPLOTCHES WITH BLOTCHES," "ZIGS" and "ZAGS," doodles and dogs, and so much more. His creations, rendered in watercolor and crayon, extend from the drizzles on the title page to swirls and curls and Jackson Pollock-like spreads until the doodles become a picture in which Art and his dog blast off for the moon: "THERE'S NO STOPPING ART...WHEN ART IS INSPIRED." He falls asleep amid his work and awakens to find it on the refrigerator, "PUT THERE BY MOTHER 'CAUSE MOTHER LOVES ART." The rhyming text is brief and takes a backseat to the little boy's exuberant pictures. This story, along with Peter H. Reynolds's The Dot (Candlewick, 2003), can free up hesitant artists to let their talent shine.-Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Art's art moves and explodes. There are splatters, squiggles and curls, zigs, zags and doodles and loads of color. After all that energetic creativity, Art "flops in a heap / and among his creations / he falls fast asleep." When he awakens, his drawings are on the refrigerator, placed there by his mother because she loves Art. McDonnell's minimalist rhyming text flies across the pages in large bold block letters. Even the youngest reader can discern the basic pun, and more sophisticated readers will enjoy finding deeper variations. It is both a slight tale of a creative child and a glimpse into the nature of art. The primary color illustrations are exuberant and joyful and seamlessly match the text. Art runs from page to page with paintbrush or colored pencil, drawing as he goes, paying direct homage to Harold and the Purple Crayon. Harold now has a perfect companion in Art. Sheer delight. (Picture book. All ages)
Children's Literature - Joan Kindig
Art loves to make art and make art he does—everywhere! From zigzags to splotches to curlicues, Art is always creating art. Shape, line, and color surround Art as he joyfully draws the things he feels. His simple drawings become more developed as he continues to draw and draw. Art finally falls asleep at his desk and dreams of his images taking on a life of their own. When he awakes, he glances at the refrigerator and sees that his mom has affixed many of his drawings there for all to see. It turns out that mom loves Art (and art), too. McDonnell's spare line drawings are perfect for this story since they seem as if they would be easy to draw yourself (they are not!). The art itself is so free form that there is a jazzy feel to them. To play on that, Bobby McFerrin, noted jazz vocalist and scat aficionado, narrates/sings/scats the story line. With McFerrin's vocals and McDonnell's art and story, this is a perfect package for showing kids the power of creative expression. The author interview with McDonnell is well-worth the viewing. He speaks of how he moved from cartooning to children's books and how much he is enjoying the genre. For those children who might find the scat a bit hard to understand, a read-along option is offered. As always, a lesson plan is included for use in the classroom. Running time: 6 minutes. Animation. Reviewer: Joan Kindig, Ph.D.

Product Details

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.37(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.37(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Patrick McDonnell is the creator of the Mutts comic strip, which recently celebrated its tenth anniversary. He has illustrated for the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Reader's Digest, Time, Parents, and other journals, done CD covers for the Greatest Hit classical music series, and created a license plate for his home state of New Jersey. Hailed as "the next Charles Schulz," Patrick sits on the board of directors of the Humane Society of the United States, and has won numerous awards for both Mutts and his animal welfare work. He is the co-author of Krazy Kat: The Comic Art of George Herriman and also contributed a story to Little Lit: It Was a Dark and Silly Night, edited by Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly (HarperCollins, 2003).

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Art 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book encourages children to be artists and promotes fun lessons and art ideas!