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The First Drawing Hardcover – September 10, 2013


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$11.45 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 14 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

K-Gr 3–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. Using thickly applied acrylics and rough strokes of black ink, he creates a prehistoric setting complete with a community of early humans, giant woolly mammoths, and one inquisitive caveboy. Told in second-person narrative, the text asks readers to put themselves in the mindset of the boy surrounded by wide-open skies, plush drifting clouds, and a great diversity of flora and fauna. A true artist, the child sees more than the surface appearance of his world. Gerstein's illustrations of rocks, clouds, and shadows cleverly conceal animal shapes that both readers and the protagonist are compelled to discover. At first, the other cave dwellers are dismissive. Then the youngster does something unprecedented: he picks up a burnt stick and begins drawing on the walls. For his fellow early humans, this first taste of art is scary and disconcerting. “Magic!” the boy's father exclaims. It is, in fact, the world's first drawing. An author's note provides background on the real-life drawings in the Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc cave and the discovery of a human footprint belonging to an eight-year-old child. Pair this title with Emily Arnold McCully's The Secret Cave (Farrar, 2010) to extend the lesson and learn about the 1940 discovery of the caves in southern France.–Kiera Parrott, Darien Library, CTα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

“Imagine you were born before the invention of drawing more than thirty thousand years ago.” A boy with shaggy red hair dressed in jeans, his back to the viewer, becomes a boy with shaggy red hair dressed in animal skins on the next page. He lives in a cave with a large multigenerational family and spends his time watching deer and bears and looking at clouds. He alone sees shapes where others see, for instance, just a stone. A stare down with a woolly mammoth pushes the boy to recreate its massive shape on the cave wall. And though his family at first fears the drawing’s magic, before long they’re drawing, too. An author’s note introduces French cave drawings, and notes no one knows who made the world’s first drawing. Despite the disclaimer, however, many will see this as fact as well as fancy, in part because of the emphatic audience-directed narrative. 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. Grades K-2. --Ilene Cooper
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 6 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 1
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (September 10, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316204781
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316204781
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.5 x 11.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #236,426 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By aaa-Pam TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
"Imagine...
you were born before the invention of drawing,
more than thirty thousand years ago."

That's where Mordicai Gerstein takes us. To where his imagination has conjured "the beginning of art".

It's actually an interesting question, given how easily children take to using crayons and playdough. Did people always know how to draw? Or was it a concept that some one stumbled upon one day, like figuring out fire and the wheel and how to boil water in a skin?

This book has beautiful and charming artwork that has an imaginative boy seeing animals in clouds and in his dreams. He's always telling adults what he sees but they tell him to be quiet --because they don't get it.

Until the night he gets the notion to draw on the cave walls. Then everyone freaks out! (After all, what did other people think of the first drawing?)

Told in second-person this is a book that pulls the reader in (kids and this mom) and gets them thinking.

Nice read-aloud. This is a great book to share.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Debnance at Readerbuzz on September 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
How did it happen? Caldecott medalist Mordicai Gerstein hypothesizes a cave boy with stick and charcoal, who decides one day to share the things he sees that no one else does. Lovely illustrations, as you might expect, and a compelling little plot.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love the manner in which Mordecai Gerstein has taken the spectacular documentary, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, and reaches out to children (and adults) with his book, "The First Drawing" and opens their minds to a time gone by.
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