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"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
Posted September 28, 2013
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.