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Drawing Lessons from a Bear Hardcover – April 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 500L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1st ed edition (April 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316563455
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316563451
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.5 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #199,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"You can't be a bear, you know, but you can be an artist. Are you an artist? Then say so. Say it softly to yourself, or say it loudly for the whole world to hear: I AM AN ARTIST! There. Now you are an artist. For all time and forever."

From his earliest scratchings on the floor of his den to his drawings for kings and queens and princesses, this down-to-earth bear artist guides and encourages young readers to follow their dreams. Support from his mom (who hangs his first pictures on the wall of the den with magnetic rocks) and his teacher, as well as inspiration from art museums and the world around him, create an environment where the fuzzy artist can learn and grow.

Warmly humorous text by David McPhail, the beloved human artist and author of more than 50 children's books (including Edward and the Pirates), will inspire bears and human beings alike to pursue their artistic aspirations. (Ages 4 to 8) --Emilie Coulter

From Publishers Weekly

In this uneven picture book about following one's muse, a bear artist remembers the time as a young cub when he discovered his passion for drawing. Divided into two sections, the first, more successful half focuses on the bear as cub, perfectly content with the " 'being a bear' lessons" taught by his mother (which include how to sit up straight and how not to drool at the table)--until he develops a love of drawing. While his friends collect tasty treats at the town dump, the hero searches for scraps of paper for his artwork. Encouragement and steadfast support from his mother and teacher, and trips to the local museum, further fuel the bear's creative juices. In the second half, after a rather abrupt transition ("many years have passed "), the grown-up bear realizes that, even after garnering prizes and acclaim, his calling is best fulfilled living in his forest den and drawing pictures (and lighting a creative spark in his young friends). Though McPhail's moral is not as subtle or organic as in his recent Mole Music, his straight-to-the-heart message and inspirational tone make for a winning combination. His gently humorous watercolor-and-pencil compositions depict cozy, loving scenes of a very happy cubhood. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Parry McCluer on July 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book is one part autobiography, one part art class and two parts inspiration. McPhail portrays the life of an artist through the story of a bear with an artistic bent.
From the time he was just a cub in the woods, little bear dreamt of being an artist. He found he could not stop drawing, whether it be making claw mark portraits in the dirt or using a burnt stick to render landscapes on paper foraged at the local dump. As his talent grows, so do his opportunities, and soon the bear is plying his craft for kings, queens and presidents.
Just as art can be found anywhere, so can artists. That's the moral McPhail hopes to impart with this book: you can be an artist if that's what you want to be. All you have to do is say it, "I am an artist." Children will get the message that, like the bear, they too can nurture their talents.
McPhail's drawing techniques are illustrated on the flyleaf of the book. His softly colored pencil drawings between the covers are warm and sweet. A good book to encourage budding artists.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book for one of my younger cousins about a week ago...it looked interesting enough, and i thought that my cousin would enjoy it...as it turns out, he doesn't read it much, which for little children, means he doesn't like it much. I think that if i had given this book to someone else with an interest in art, he/she would have more of an appreciation for it...the artist who did the illustrations did a decent job with the pictures, as they are very vivid and colorful...overall, i would recommend this book for children age 6+ that have some interest in art.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Christin on April 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Throughout life, people have many different ambitions. Some begin thinking about these during childhood, through simple daydreams that they have about different occupations. It may seem to some that a child's catch phrase is, "I want to be a ____ when I grow up." Whether or not they achieve these goals is not what is important. What is important is that they realize that they can be whatever they want, as long as they try hard for it. In Drawing Lessons From a Bear, David McPhail portrays this reoccurring theme. He shows that one can be anything they want to be, despite their race, gender, religion, or background. This book is about a bear whose mother gives him lessons on "how to be a bear." While learning who he is, he begins doodling in the sand. The next thing he knows, his meaningless marks turn into actual pictures. He says, "At first the drawings did not look like much, but the more I drew, the better my drawings looked" (McPhail). As time goes on, he begins spending his free time drawing. While his mother and some others bears are at the dump looking for something to eat, he spends his time looking for scraps of paper that he can use for drawing. While he is in class learning to read and write, he sits in the back of the room and draws. He draws all during the day and at night. Through all of this, he receives support and encouragement from his mother and from his teacher. "She [his mother] was so pleased that she put it [his drawing] on the wall of our den" (McPhail). His teacher also encourages him, even when he draws during class. Encouragement from family and friends is one of the most important ways to help a child carry out his/her ambitions. Without encouragement, a child will not be as motivated to carry out his/her dreams.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on May 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A young bear's claw marks on the floor leads to drawing lessons and dreams of becoming an artist in this gentle story of a bear's evolving artistic talents, from cubhood through school to adulthood. Kids with simple reading skills will find this an encouraging tale of accomplishment.
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Format: Hardcover
The illustrations are good and the message is sweet and self-affirming--this bear's true love is to draw. He is proud and committed to be an artist.
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More About the Author

DAVID McPHAIL is the creator of dozens of wonderful books, including Big Brown Bear's Up and Down Day; Sisters; Mole Music, a New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year; and several recent Green Light Readers for Harcourt. He lives in New Hampshire.

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