As simple yet stimulating as Reynolds's The Dot, this tale centers on another youngster questioning his artistic ability. Spot illustrations portray Ramon as a cheerful boy who loves to draw "anytime" (he draws in bed), "anything" (he paints pictures of trash cans) and "anywhere" (readers will giggle at the sight of him perched on the toilet, drawing pad on his lap). But his self-confidence plummets when Ramon's older brother laughs at his attempts to draw a vase of flowers ("What is that?"). After months and crumpled attempts at trying to make his pictures look "right," the frustrated child puts his pencil down, announcing, "I'm done." His younger sister runs off with one of the discarded drawings and when he chases her to her bedroom, he discovers (in a moment reminiscent of The Dot) she has created a "crumpled gallery" of his work. Pointing to his attempted rendering of the flower vase, the girl calls it "one of my favorites." When Ramon complains, "That was supposed to be a vase of flowers," she supportively responds, "Well, it looks vase-ish!" Ramon then feels "light and energized. Thinking ish-ly allowed his ideas to flow freely." Reynolds's minimalist pen-and-ink illustrations feature subtle washes of watercolor and ample splashes of emotion and humor. A tidy lesson in the importance of thinking-or drawing-outside the box and believing in one's own abilities despite others' reactions. Ages 5-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Ramon enjoys drawing, "Anytime. Anything. Anywhere," until his brother laughs at his efforts. Then nothing seems "right," and Ramon stops drawing in frustration. But his sister Marisol has saved all his discarded efforts and put them up on her wall. What was supposed to be a vase of flowers, Marisol declares "vase-ish." All the drawings are something-"ish," Ramon realizes. He is inspired to fill his journals with drawings of things, of feelings, even with writings that are "poem-ish." One day, he has such a wonderful feeling that he decides not to draw it, but simply to savor it. "And Ramon lived ishfully ever after." The message of this story is open to many interpretations. But the sketchy watercolor and ink illustrations are directly appealing, depicting Ramon creating and his many "ish-y" creations. We are caught up in his inspiration and his ultimate enjoyment of the moment. 2004, Candlewick Press, Ages 4 to 8.
Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
A lovely tale about the trials of a budding artist brought to us by the author/illustrator of Dot (2003). Ramon creates drawings at a furious pace. Everywhere he goes, he draws. But there's nothing like a derisive older brother to put the kibosh on a sensitive artist type. Suddenly, Ramon becomes self-critical. He cannot satisfy his own desire to get things "right" anymore, so he decides to put away his pencil for good. Luckily another family member, his sister, has secretly been collecting Ramon's art for her own private gallery. She convinces him that a successful drawing need not be a perfect reflection of reality. It's okay if a house looks house-ish or a fish looks fish-ish. It is just the liberating sentiment Ramon needs to reignite his creativity. Told in spare prose with Reynolds's signature line drawings in watercolor, ink, and tea, Ish will encourage other little artists. (Picture book. 4-6)
ISH . . . encourages readers to see the world anew.
—School Library Journal, starred review
Reynold's minimalist pen-and-ink illustrations feature subtle washes of watercolor and ample splashes of emotion and humor. A tidy lesson in the importance of thinking or drawing outside the box and believing in one's own abilities despite others' reactions.
The overriding theme about creativity versus exactitude will resonate with many. The line-and-clor artwork is simple, but it has great emotion and warmth. Kids will resond to that, too.
A lovely tale. . . . Told in spare prose with Reynolds' signature line drawings in watercolor, ink, and tea, ISH will encourage other little artists.
Certain to bolster self-esteem and encourage children to follow their creative impulses.
—Scholastic Parent & Child
Adults as well as children will want to linger over the pages.