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The Art Lesson (Paperstar Book) Paperback – December 21, 2001

4.4 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This is a charming exercise in autobiography (one of several) by the great author-illustrator Tomie dePaola. "Tommy" is consumed with a passion for drawing. Although encouraged by his family, who treat his pictures with respect and decorate their houses and workplaces with them, he encounters misunderstanding and frustration at school. Finally, an art teacher gives him a chance to do his own thing. The Art Lesson is filled with many full-page illustrations in dePaola's inimitably warm, soothing style. It's also packed with the right lessons on individuality and perseverance, especially for children who are already showing a single-minded interest or special talents that put them ahead of their peers. (Ages 4 to 8) --Richard Farr --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

A boy named Tommy loves to draw with his Binney & Smith Crayola crayons, and these pictures hang on his side of the room, in his mother's kitchen, at the barber shop where his father works, in the store of his Irish grandparents and in the home of his Italian grandmother Nana. Tommy? Nana? This work of picture-book fiction is really a gem of an autobiography, and readers familiar with dePaola's work will find wonderful, well-placed clues to his lifetime of artistry among these pages. Tommy starts school, and can't wait for the day when the art teacher comes. But there are a couple of hitches: the paints at school are cracked and powdery (and blow "right off the paper"), and the art teacher only lets the children have one piece of paper, on which to "copy" her drawings. Tommy, who has been told by his aunts (twins, who are artists) that real artists never copy, has a crisis. But his teachers (including Tommy's regular classroom teacher) show themselves to be far more understanding than readers could have predicted, and all ends well. Inventive and revealing, dePaola provides a lyrical blend of text and art. This is an inspired and childlike offering, perhaps one of dePaola's best. Ages 5-8.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Series: Paperstar Book
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books; Reprint edition (December 21, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0698115724
  • ISBN-13: 978-0698115729
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Shh ... wanna hear a secret? Well, here it is: This is NOT just a children's book. Enthralled by the book and eager to share the joys of reading aloud with an older group, I shared this book with my ninth-graders back in 1991. To this day, it is one of the most cherished memories some of them have. At least one student went on to write children's books of her own. What more can an English teacher ask?

Tomie DePaola's charming story has realistic language -- he talks the way kids think -- and emotions to which anyone can relate. He tells the story of Tommy, who more than anything looked forward to first grade, when he would finally get REAL ART LESSONS and start on the road to becoming an artist like his beloved cousins. Things get off to a rocky start, but the solution is as satisfying as any you'll read. The book offers a great lesson on how to be yourself and dream big.

P.S. One more secret: If you like this book, you'll love _Emma's Rug_ by Allen Say. Artists of all kinds, unite!
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Format: Paperback
Do you want to read a terrific book with fantastic illustrations? If you said yes, then The Art Lesson is the book for you.
We enjoyed reading a book where the child really grows up doing what he has always wanted to do. This is a story about a child who loves to draw. His teacher only gives him one piece of paper and won't let him use his birthday crayons. But still this can't stop him from drawing. Read The Art Lesson to find out how he solves his problem.
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Format: Paperback
Little Tommy couldn't wait until the art teacher came to give the class its first art lesson. This was first grade. The year before, the kindergarten teacher mixed powder in water then students painted on paper. The paint usually cracked, then blew off in the wind. So, yes, "The Art Lesson" was an anticipated event for young Tommy in the first grade.

Young Tommy received a wonderful 64-color box of crayons for his birthday just after school began for first grade. However, his teacher took them away because "everyone must use the same crayons--school crayons," which happened to be the same old eight colors. Imagine his dismay!

(The teacher looks bad here, but consider what she does. Whether it is fair or not, she is trying to put the children on the same playing field with the school crayons. Tommy's 64 colors would have given him a touchdown even before the game began. We always look at how awful the teacher is for denying individuality and autonomy, but I can appreciate what she is trying to do. I don't know the answer in this case, but a perfect solution IS provided in the story!)

When the art teacher comes to teach the first greatly anticipated art lesson, Tommy can hardly sleep the night before. Need I say the lesson is disappointing? Wait! The art teacher and his first grade teacher work out a satisfactory solution. Voila! Tommy is on his way to becoming an artist.

The story promotes steady resolve, unflinching determination, and joy in doing what is loved. A hearty recommendation!

Note: The name is spelled T-o-m-m-y in the story and was perhaps changed when Tomie dePaola actually began to be published.
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A Kid's Review on March 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
When Tommy wants to become an artist, he trys everything he can to be the best artist. When Tommy's older brother goes to school and has art class Tommy can't wait till he gets art lessons.
Tommy really wants to draw, and that is what he spends most of his time doing. When Tommy finally gets to go to art lessons, he wants to draw what he wants, not what the teacher tells him. So the teacher tell him once he draws what she wants him to he can draw anything he wants, and he sure did.
I think that it is really great that Tommy never gave up drawing and it followed him through his whole life, and he is still doing it today. I would recommend this book for children ages 4-8, and I think that it would show kids to do what they want to and never give up.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I ordered a copy of Tomie dePaula's The Art Lesson after my seven-year-old daughter raved about him after her teacher read one of his books in class. When the book arrived and I surprised my daughter with it, she hugged me with the strength of Thor because I had given her a book from her favorite author. We sat down and read The Art Lesson together several times, but what was so exciting was that my daughter pointed out how the story reflected the childhood of the author.

Upon closer examination, I recognized that this was a golden opportunity to use this book to teach author's craft and purpose. I decided to use this book to introduce this skill to a middle school ESL class. Initially, I was afraid that they would be insulted that I was using a children's book with them. However, I was pleasantly surprise: many of them had read it in Spanish in their home country, so they possessed background knowledge. Since they had prior knowledge, I was able to expand upon it by introducing how the author crafted the book using specific writing strategies and that his purpose was to reflect his childhood awakening to a life as a writer and artist.

I would definitely recommend this book as a high interest, literacy-enriched text for children; it also is an extraordinary resource for teaching challenging skills such as author's craft and purpose.
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