I Gotta Draw

Overview

Charlie Muttnik is the pup with the pencil, the mutt with the marker, the dog with the drawing pad, the chap with the chalk! He draws all the time.

But when Charlie doodles all over his homework, there's trouble at school. It's only when his strict teacher, Miss Rich, tries something new that both realize Charlie can be a great artist at school and at home.

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Overview

Charlie Muttnik is the pup with the pencil, the mutt with the marker, the dog with the drawing pad, the chap with the chalk! He draws all the time.

But when Charlie doodles all over his homework, there's trouble at school. It's only when his strict teacher, Miss Rich, tries something new that both realize Charlie can be a great artist at school and at home.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Charlie Muttnik is known in his Brooklyn neighborhood as "the pup with the pencil." He's always drawing pictures in his chaotic household, where he lives with his mother, father, and older sister. But when Charlie goes back to school, his strict new teacher, Miss Rich (a smartly dressed cat), doesn't approve of Charlie's doodling in class. Miss Rich has a change of attitude, however, when she realizes that Charlie learns best through his pictures. So during a spelling lesson, Charlie is allowed to draw in the back of the classroom, as long as he spells the words out loud, and for a lesson on the solar system, Charlie draws and labels the planets. Degen, illustrator of the Magic School Bus series, conveys Charlie's spirited nature through his floppy ears, tennis shoes, striped T-shirt, and exuberant concentration as he draws. Comics-style panels mimic Charlie's visual interpretation of the world around him, with his own art integrated into the scenes. Readers who don't conform to a one-size-fits-all style of learning should welcome the message about creativity, classroom flexibility, and breaking the mold. Ages 5-9.
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Booklist
“Charlie’s school and home worlds appear kinetic and alive...his story is timeless as he struggles to balance his love of a world outside the lines while feeling pressure to stay inside the lines at school.”
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—In a conversational tone, a pup explains his love of art: "I take a fresh piece of paper… I feel a little shiver… Something new is about to happen." But Charlie Muttnik has a hard time finding a place to draw in his family's small Brooklyn apartment and at school Miss Rich frowns upon his homework embellishments. Despite his best efforts, his "report card never makes it to the beginning of the alphabet." The pup's self-confidence and grades soar when Miss Rich tries a different approach and allows him to draw while spelling words out loud and paint while answering social-studies questions. Soon everyone in the class takes part, and their art efforts are placed on display to rave reviews. Degen's charming watercolor and colored-pencil illustrations show animal classmates proudly holding up their masterpieces, from abstract geometric designs to flying fish. Budding artists will relate to Charlie's passion. As in Patricia Polacco's Thank You, Mr. Falker (Philomel, 1998), this story also shows how a sympathetic teacher can nurture creativity.—Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada
Kirkus Reviews
One teacher who is willing to look outside the box for a solution changes the life of a budding young artist. Charlie Muttnik is the "pup with the pencil, / the mutt with the marker.…" He draws all the time, but finding a place to draw in his crowded Brooklyn apartment is not always easy, and things only get worse when he starts school. The margins of his papers become a doodling pad, which does not endear him to his teacher, Miss Rich, who is strict and by-the-book, or help his grades. Finally, when Charlie turns in a wordless climate report, Miss Rich decides to try something different. Equipped with supplies, Charlie stands at the back of the room orally answering questions while creating his artwork--a ploy that works to improve both his grades and his self-esteem, leading Miss Rich to try it with the whole class. And his now-proud parents dedicate a corner of the apartment to a drawing table just for Charlie. As with the illustrations he did for Joanna Cole's Magic School Bus series, Degen mixes panels, vignettes and full-page spreads on his busy pages, his dog and cat characters spouting speech bubbles that both continue the story and add funny asides ("Is there fresh air in Brooklyn?"). Would that every teacher could be this cool; Ms. Frizzle would be proud. (Picture book. 5-9)
The New York Times Book Review
Degen's graphic and verbal humor enlivens [the] scenes, and it's hard to imagine any child not enjoying them. The book's significance and power, however, lie not in its message for children, but in its import for teachers. By paying attention to what one child needs and does, a conventional teacher can step out of her habitual mode and invent ways both to accommodate that child and to expand the expressive horizons of others.
—Ellen Handler Spitz
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060284176
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/5/2012
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 640,039
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 11.20 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Degen

Bruce Degen is the bestselling author and illustrator of the beloved, perennial favorite Jamberry and numerous award-winning books for children. He is the author and illustrator of Daddy Is a Doodlebug and Sailaway Home as well as the illustrator of the highly acclaimed Magic School Bus series by Joanna Cole; the ever-popular Jesse Bear books by Nancy White Carlstrom; Jazzmatazz! by Stephanie Calmenson; and Shirley's Wonderful Baby by Valiska Gregory (available at your local library).

Bruce Degen's involvement with art has ranged from painting and printmaking to teaching art in New York City schools and directing an artists' lithography studio in Israel. Mr. Degen studied art at the Cooper Union and Pratt Institute. He was born in Brooklyn, New York—just like Charlie Muttnik—and now lives with his family in Connecticut.

Bruce Degen is the bestselling author and illustrator of the beloved, perennial favorite Jamberry and numerous award-winning books for children. He is the author and illustrator of Daddy Is a Doodlebug and Sailaway Home as well as the illustrator of the highly acclaimed Magic School Bus series by Joanna Cole; the ever-popular Jesse Bear books by Nancy White Carlstrom; Jazzmatazz! by Stephanie Calmenson; and Shirley's Wonderful Baby by Valiska Gregory (available at your local library).

Bruce Degen's involvement with art has ranged from painting and printmaking to teaching art in New York City schools and directing an artists' lithography studio in Israel. Mr. Degen studied art at the Cooper Union and Pratt Institute. He was born in Brooklyn, New York—just like Charlie Muttnik—and now lives with his family in Connecticut.

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