"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.)
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