From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3. Though visually appealing, this book is not successful in presenting its subject matter. Patterned after "The House That Jack Built," it attempts to introduce the tools and artistic elements used in the picture that a mother draws as her two daughters, appearing in full-color photos, watch. The design is clear and open. The large type on the left and the colorful drawing in progress on the right show up well on the slick white paper. The picture illustrates the terms in the text, one new one for each spread. The term that each sequential picture illustrates is done in type to further elucidate its meaning. For example, "colors" is comprised of different color letters and "shapes" is shown in two dimensions. All terms are briefly but adequately defined in an afterword. However, the format indicates a very young audience, yet many of the artistic terms, and the words used to present and define them, are too difficult for young children. Also, as the art terms become more complex, it becomes increasingly difficult to make the associations between the word and the pictorial detail. The rigid, repetitive text becomes cumbersome and will not hold the interest of readers old enough to make sense of the information.?Karen James, Louisville Free Public Library, KY
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 2^-4. An instructive and joyful way to acquaint children with basic art terms and to introduce the idea of parts combining into a whole. The well-loved "This Is the House That Jack Built" provides the form for Mallat's lively text, which is ostensibly narrated by her two daughters, pictured in freckled glory smiling on the book jacket. Their cumulative narrative explains in simple words how their mom goes about making a colored-pencil drawing. McMillan's first few photos are of Mallat and her children and of some of Mallat's art tools; others are shots of various parts of Mallat's drawing as the picture gradually takes shape. Some kids will easily guess what the drawing will eventually be, but many will find the final photo a delightful surprise. Terms such as line
, and shape
(presented in display type that's carefully chosen to reflect the concepts being defined) are closely keyed to the photos. A final double-page spread reiterates the new vocabulary and adds some information about colors. A top-notch combination of text and graphics; great for classroom use and for art teachers who want to show the magical way artists create form, depth, and life on a piece of plain white paper. Stephanie Zvirin