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Art & Max Hardcover – October 4, 2010

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Product Details

  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Clarion Books; 1 edition (October 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618756639
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618756636
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, October 2010: With eye-popping illustrations, three-time Caldecott medalist David Wiesner takes readers on a stunning journey through the art world. Art & Max is the story of two artists: Art, a collared lizard who is studiously painting a portrait when we first meet him, and Max, who has just picked up paints and brushes and is ready to go. What follows is a magical journey of explosive color--brilliantly highlighted by the desert background--where acrylic paints, watercolor, and line drawings, are deconstructed and re-invented, and Art undergoes a Jackson Pollack-like transformation. Combining minimal text with remarkable images, this is a book to be cherished and poured over, inspiring the artist in all of us.--Seira Wilson

Amazon Exclusive From Author David Wiesner: The Development of Art & Max
(Click on images to enlarge)

Introduction to the photos below:
These images show the development of the opening spread for my latest picture book, Art & Max. Given that a picture book is so brief, the opening pages must set the scene and introduce the characters in a concise and effective way. On the half title and title pages of Art & Max, I show Max racing across the landscape, from left to right. Now, on pages 4 and 5, he enters the scene as the story begins.

This drawing is from an early dummy, before I had fully designed the characters or fully worked out the story. Max was originally a chameleon, but I decided to make him a Collared Lizard instead. I have reversed the position of Arthur and Max to continue the left to right movement from the title page. I am exploring body stances to find an expressive interaction between the two characters. This isn’t it.
Arthur is beginning to look better. Their physical relationship still doesn't feel right. Here the characters are looking good, but I think Max still needs to burst onto the scene somehow. Now Max is off his feet, literally flying into the picture, and the landscape has also come together. The scene, painted, as it appears in the book. The story of Art & Max has begun.

From School Library Journal

K-Gr 4–Underlying this tale of a feisty friendship between two lizards is a thought-provoking exploration of the creative process. Readers first encounter Arthur rendering a formal portrait of a stately reptile, one of several reacting to the unfolding drama in the desert. Frenetic Max dashes into the scene; he also wants to paint, but lacks ideas. Self-assured Art suggests, "Well…you could paint me." Max's literal response yields a more colorful Art, but the master's outrage causes his acrylic armor to shatter. His texture falls in fragments, leaving an undercoating of dusty pastels vulnerable to passing breezes. Each of Max's attempts to solve Art's problems leads to unexpected outcomes, until his mentor is reduced to an inked outline, one that ultimately unravels. Wiesner deftly uses panels and full spreads to take Max from his "aha" moment through the humorous and uncertain moments of reconstructing Art. Differentiated fonts clarify who's speaking the snippets of dialogue. Wielding a vacuum cleaner that soaks up the ruined scales, Max sprays a colorful stream, à la Jackson Pollock, that lands, surprisingly, in a Pointillist manner on the amazed lizard. The conclusion reveals that his fresh look inspires the senior artist with new vision, too. Funny, clever, full of revelations to those who look carefully–this title represents picture-book making at its best. Wiesner's inventive story will generate conversations about media, style, and, of course, "What Is Art?" It will resonate with children who live in a world in which actions are deemed mistakes or marvels, depending on who's judging.Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Customer Reviews

The drawings and imaginative story of Art and Max are fabulous.
sandra whitmore
My kids have enjoyed this book as the story is cute and the illustrations make it interesting.
If you want to know how this story ends you should read the book.
Wendy Gray

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Mary Kate on September 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
David Wiesner is one of only two people to win the prestigious Caldicott Medal on three ocassions, for Tuesday (1992), The Three Pigs (2002) and Flotsam (2007). In his first book since Flotsam, Wiesner wanted to try something different and his exploration into various media led him to write & illustrate a story about the creative process itself.

Set in the desert, Art & Max is the story of two lizards; one, Arthur (Art), is an artist, the second, Max, admires Art and hopes to be an artist as well. When he shows up, brushes and canvas in hand as Art is working on a portrait and claims that he can paint, too, Arthur's first reaction is a dismissive "Don't be ridiculous!" Upon seeing Max's crestfallen reaction to his words, though, Art relents and invites Max to set up his easel but instructs him to stay out of his way. When Max is stuck for a subject and Art rather grandly suggests that Max paint him, Max takes him at his word. Chaos, as they say, ensues.

While I loved the artwork - the muted desert tones and simplicity of the backgrounds, the expressive faces, the melting watercolors - I simply don't have the knowledge of art to analyze Wiesner's work in Art & Max in depth. So I'll leave that commentary to others with more expertise and instead go a different route, sharing the messages I took from the book as a whole.

1. Hold fast to enthusiasm and never, ever lose your grip.
2. Never stop learning.
3. Be willing to experiment.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on October 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Illustrators of children's books are easier to deal with if you can lump them into little boxes. Multicultural family stories that tug at the heartstrings? That's the Patricia Polacco box. Cute kids in period clothes frolicking with goats? Yup, that's Tasha Tudor. So my problem with David Wiesner is that he throws my entire system off. Though his style is recognizable in each and every one of his books (Free Fall, Sector 7, etc.) his storylines zigzag around the globe. One minute he has a book about frogs that unexpectedly take flight. The next it's a wordless tale about a boy who finds a fantastical camera from beneath the sea. He remains an unpredictable force. You literally never know what he will do next. When Art & Max was first discussed, folks had a very difficult time figuring out what it was about. There are lizards? And painting? As always, Wiesner considers his reader first, then creates a story that will be both fun to read and visually stimulating. Consider this your Example A.

Art, a horned lizard with an artist's temperament, is doing a bit of portraiture in his desert environment when along bounces happy-go-lucky Max. Max wants to paint just like Art, and the grumpy elder agrees grudgingly, informing the little guy, "Just don't get in the way." When Max asks what he should paint, Art suggests himself. Unfortunately for him, Max takes this advice a little too literally and Max finds himself covered in oils, turned into pastels, and eventually nothing more than a mere outline of his former self.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Beverly L. Archer VINE VOICE on October 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Wiesner's latest picture book takes readers on an eye popping journey through the art world. Art & Max is the story of two artists: Art, a serious lizard who is painstakingly working on portrait and Max, a carefree, spur of the moment artist who has just picked up a paint brush and is ready to go. With eye-popping illustrations, three-time Caldecott medalist David Wiesner takes creates a stunning journey through the art world. The story magically romps through the world of art as acrylic paints, watercolor, and line drawing are all explored with wonderful whimsy. Art students will recognize the nod to Jackson Pollack, one of my favorite artists. Minimal text accompanies the brilliant illustrations, allowing readers to concentrate on the illustrations. This is a beautiful book - a must have for any art lover - young or old. Could this book earn Wiesner a fourth Caldecott?

Recommended for ages: 4 and up (Adults - you'll like this one, too!)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By aaa-Pam TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
David Wiesner is a Genius. The kids and I love him. BUT of all his works this is our least favorite. Not that the artwork isn't scrumptious and fun, but the fact is that the story didn't grab us the way David's other stories did. Flotsam, Three Pigs, Sector 7 ... all seemed more innovative and powerful: they stayed in our minds and we discussed them days afterwards. In comparison, "Art and Max" didn't glow as brightly.

I can certainly see why others would love "Art and Max" but for us it was just okay. Not the book we'd suggest first to a David Wiesner novice. Ultimately, it's just a matter of taste. The book is fun, just not the fun-est.

Pam T~
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More About the Author

David Wiesner is one of the best-loved and most highly acclaimed picture book creators in the world. His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages and have won numerous awards in the United States and abroad. Three of the picture books he both wrote and illustrated became instant classics when they won the prestigious Caldecott Medal: Tuesday in 1992, The Three Pigs in 2002, and Flotsam in 2007, making him only the second person in the award's long history to have won three times. He has also received two Caldecott Honors, for Free Fall and Sector 7.

Wiesner grew up in suburban New Jersey, known to his classmates as "the kid who could draw." He went on to become a student at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he was able to commit himself to the full-time study of art and to explore further his passion for visual storytelling. He soon discovered that picture books were the perfect vehicle for his work.

Wiesner generally spends several years creating each new book. Many versions are sketched and revised until the story line flows smoothly and each image works the way he wants it to. He creates three-dimensional models of objects he can't observe in real life, such as flying pigs and lizards standing upright, to add authenticity to his drawings.

David Wiesner lives with his family outside Philadelphia.

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