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The First Drawing
     

The First Drawing

5.0 1
by Mordicai Gerstein
 

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Imagine you were born before the invention of drawing, more than thirty thousand years ago.

You would live with your whole family in a cave and see woolly mammoths walk by!

You might even see images of animals hidden in the shapes of clouds and rocks.

You would want to share these pictures with your family, but wouldn't know how.

Who would have made the

Overview

Imagine you were born before the invention of drawing, more than thirty thousand years ago.

You would live with your whole family in a cave and see woolly mammoths walk by!

You might even see images of animals hidden in the shapes of clouds and rocks.

You would want to share these pictures with your family, but wouldn't know how.

Who would have made the world's first drawing? Would it have been you?


In The First Drawing, Caldecott Medal winner Mordicai Gerstein imagines the discovery of drawing...and inspires the young dreamers and artists of today.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this playful account, Caldecott Medalist Gerstein (The Man Who Walked Between the Towers) suggests how and why drawing was invented, imaginatively drawing from an archeological find of cave drawings and a nearby child’s footprint. Second-person narration immediately pulls readers in: “Imagine... you were born before the invention of drawing.” A shaggy-haired modern boy, colored pencils in his back pockets, and a dog stand in front of a blank canvas. Opposite, the boy is transported. It’s 30,000 years earlier, and he has a wolf at his side. When he encounters a woolly mammoth, the boy shares the experience, using a burnt stick to depict the giant animal on a cave wall. Gerstein’s mixed-media spreads feature a mostly blue and brown palette, and thin, rainbow-hued brushstrokes add texture and vividness. The power and intrinsic reward of making art is revealed as the boy animatedly draws his mammoth over several panels—to the fear, then fascination, of his family. Artists see the world differently, but Gerstein suggests their true gift lies in allowing others to share in their visions. Ages 3–6. Agent: Joan Raines, Raines & Raines. (Sept.)
Booklist
"The line, acrylic, and colored-pencil art, which fills up each spread, has the buoyant feeling of discovery and is clever in the way it turns imaginings into pictures. A way to think about the start of art."
From the Publisher
Fall 2013 Parents' Choice Award2014 CCBC Choices List
Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College 2014 Best Book of the Year"

The much-admired illustrator Mordicai Gerstein performs a persuasive bit of magic in The First Drawing...[he] uses delicate ink over rough colorful acrylics in a visual echo of the way the fineness of artistic sensibility might have arisen in primitive Stone Age culture"—The Wall Street Journal

*"In this compelling picture book, Gerstein invites children to travel back in time more than 30,000 years to a cave in what is now southern France....Gerstein's illustrations of rocks, clouds, and shadows cleverly conceal animal shapes that both readers and the protagonist are compelled to discover."—School Library Journal (starred review)

*"Gerstein's mixed-media spreads feature a mostly blue and brown palette, and thin, rainbow-hued brushstrokes add texture and vividness....Artists see the world differently, but Gerstein suggests their true gift lies in allowing others to share in their visions."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)"

Gerstein's acrylic, pen-and-ink and colored-pencil mixed-media illustrations create depth and a sense of the past, as well as imparting liveliness and possibility...Solid storytelling, satisfying narrative circularity, and masterful, creative illustrations make this an inspiring story for young artists."—Kirkus"

The line, acrylic, and colored-pencil art, which fills up each spread, has the buoyant feeling of discovery and is clever in the way it turns imaginings into pictures. A way to think about the start of art."—Booklist"

Echoing the simplicity of cave drawings with simply sketched figures, Gerstein enhances them with expressive pen-and-ink detail and luminous acrylics and colored pencil, in hues from pure sky blue to firelight."—The Horn Book"

The story offers a creative approach to get kids thinking about that paradigm shift into artistic representation...Use this in an art class to spark consideration of the time before fingerpaints, refrigerator art, and even sidewalk chalk."—BCCB

[Gerstein's] illustrations are colorful and dramatic.— Library Media Connection

Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Gerstein's marvelous story was inspired by the discovery of paintings more than 30,000 years old in Chauvet Cave, hidden in the mountains of southern France—and popularized by German film director Werner Herzog's recent 3-D documentary film. A contemporary young artist (with hound) imagines how his prehistoric counterpart (with wolf) might have created the first drawing. The imagining is evocative: How can "Child Who Sees What Isn't There" convince his clan to visualize wildlife as he sees it? Cloud shapes do not work. His extended family cannot picture the bas relief bumps on its cavern's walls as moving, breathing, game animals. In total frustration, the young man grabs a charcoal stick and outlines what he sees...Ahh. The magic is revealed to all. Gerstein's evocative approach to how man made the transition to really seeing renderings of reality is evocative, and quite believable. His illustrations done in acrylics, pen and ink, and colored pencil on paper complete the illusions well, creating another must buy for real library and pre-school and lower grades use. Reviewer: Kathleen Karr
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—In this compelling picture book, Gerstein invites children to travel back in time more than 30,000 years to a cave in what is now southern France. Using thickly applied acrylics and rough strokes of black ink, he creates a prehistoric setting complete with a community of early humans, giant woolly mammoths, and one inquisitive caveboy. Told in second-person narrative, the text asks readers to put themselves in the mindset of the boy surrounded by wide-open skies, plush drifting clouds, and a great diversity of flora and fauna. A true artist, the child sees more than the surface appearance of his world. Gerstein's illustrations of rocks, clouds, and shadows cleverly conceal animal shapes that both readers and the protagonist are compelled to discover. At first, the other cave dwellers are dismissive. Then the youngster does something unprecedented: he picks up a burnt stick and begins drawing on the walls. For his fellow early humans, this first taste of art is scary and disconcerting. "Magic!" the boy's father exclaims. It is, in fact, the world's first drawing. An author's note provides background on the real-life drawings in the Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc cave and the discovery of a human footprint belonging to an eight-year-old child. Pair this title with Emily Arnold McCully's The Secret Cave (Farrar, 2010) to extend the lesson and learn about the 1940 discovery of the caves in southern France.—Kiera Parrott, Darien Library, CT
Kirkus Reviews
Who made the world's first drawing--and why? Caldecott Medalist Gerstein gives his own imagined answer to this question in a polished tale of a boy living 30,000 years ago with his pet wolf and his very extended family. Using narrative direct address ("Imagine… / you were born before the invention of drawing") to effectively bridge the gap between prehistoric times and the present, the story follows the boy on his fanciful discoveries of wooly mammoths in clouds, bears in stones and horses galloping on cave walls. The boy tries to show his family what he sees, but they see only a cloud, a rock and a cave. Gerstein's acrylic, pen-and-ink and colored-pencil mixed-media illustrations create depth and a sense of the past, as well as imparting liveliness and possibility to what could easily have become simply flat drawings. Like the boy in the story who finally, in frustration, picks up a charred stick and draws on the cave wall to make what he sees in his imagination plain to his family, readers may discover that they see pictures of their own within these layered illustrations. Solid storytelling, satisfying narrative circularity, and masterful, creative illustrations make this an inspiring story for young artists. (author's note) (Picture book. 2-6)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316204781
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
09/10/2013
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
586,002
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
3 - 6 Years

Meet the Author

Mordicai Gerstein is the acclaimed illustrator of more than forty-five books, many of which he also wrote. His books are frequently awarded ALA Notable status, and he is the three-time recipient of a New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year honor. In 2004, Mordicai was awarded the Caldecott Medal for The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. Mordicai lives in western Massachusetts. His website is www.mordicaigerstein.com.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Northhampton, Massachusetts
Date of Birth:
November 25, 1935
Place of Birth:
Los Angeles, California
Education:
Chouinard Institute of Art
Website:
http://www.mordicaigerstein.com

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The First Drawing 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Kristie Ingerto for Readers' Favorite The First Drawing, written and illustrated by Caldecott Medalist Mordicai Gerstein, is a beautiful book about life for a young boy before people created drawings and how he taught his family to see pictures and draw. This young boy lived in a cave with his family and would see things in the clouds, in the shadows, in everyday life, but no one else could see what he saw. One night he draws what he sees on the cave wall and suddenly his family is able to see what he sees. This boy teaches his family how to draw and the magic of drawing is discovered and shared, and to this day drawing is still magic!  Mordicai Gerstein based his children's book on the discovery of drawings on a cave wall in southern France. When these drawings were discovered they were found to be older than all of the other drawings that had been found at this time. Gerstein created this story as how he imagines the drawings to have been made and how drawing was begun, based upon the discovery in this cave. Also, there is an excellent message for children in this story as well: the boy did not give up on trying to help others see what he could see, even though no one encouraged him or believed him.  This is a well-written and well-illustrated children's book that will have a child's imagination running wild as he or she imagines life without art, without picking up a pencil and drawing.