I Don't Draw, I Color
I Don't Draw, I Color
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Annotation: A boy discovers that even if he does not draw, he can be an artist and express himself through coloring.
Catalog Number: #139576
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Copyright Date: 2017
Edition Date: 2017
Illustrator: Sala, Felicita,
Pages: 32
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-481-46275-X
ISBN 13: 978-1-481-46275-4
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2016010819
Dimensions: 27 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
A young boy recognizes that he can't draw. "Some people are really good at drawing, But my puppies look like mush. My cars look like lumps." Yet he can still create art in his own way. "When I color, I can express myself without drawing anything." Lehrhaupt's spare text tells of one child's artistic expression with colors, and Sala's exuberant illustrations joyfully prove the point. Sala combines watercolors, colored pencils, and crayons of all colors to produce appealing, childlike illustrations. The end result is a delightful array of blobs and squiggly and jagged lines set to angry reds, sad blues, happy yellows, calming purples, and excited oranges, which easily communicate those feelings. When asked to draw a portrait, the boy instead produces "a colorful masterpiece" of all the swatches jumbled together, since he is never just one color, after all. This attractive, approachable book offers a variety of teachable themes, including basic color theory, self-expression and emotional vocabulary, and confidence, and would be a great pick for an art-themed storytime.
Horn Book
Rather than being discouraged or intimidated by other students with greater drawing skills, a child realizes that coloring can convey just as much as, if not more than, drawing. Sala's illustrations demonstrate how varying color, line thickness, and intensity can indicate different emotions. Lehrhaupt ends the book on an open-ended invitation to explore the color wheel and look past self-perceived artistic limitations.
Kirkus Reviews
A small child colors instead of drawing.In this first-person narrator's opinion, other kids are really good at drawing, but he isn't. Drawing, here, means being representational and realistic. Young readers will notice immediately that the child's drawings, which the narrator denigrates, look like their own drawings. Sala's child-style portrayals of puppies, people, and cars are no less skilled than—and quite similar to—typical children's work; if this child's drawings are so bad they shouldn't be attempted, should readers stop drawing too? Never revisiting this assumption, the child seeks expression with artwork but "without drawing anything." The child uses various hues and types of line (thick, thin, squiggly, jagged) to portray moods (happy, sad, angry,) and vibes (scary; "something full of life"). However, the premise that conveying mood through color and abstract form requires less sophistication than representational drawing is false. Making a self-portrait, this white protagonist imagines hues that will capture various aspects of personality, including "a messy, dark brown"—unfortunately linking brownness with messiness. The watercolor, pencil, and crayon illustrations cohere less than E.B. Lewis' in Angela Johnson's Lily Brown's Paintings (2007), a better choice about a child-artist, with child style beautifully integrated; to explore a dynamic relationship between color and mood, see Tameka Fryer Brown and Shane W. Evans' My Cold Plum Lemon Pie Bluesy Mood (2013). Nothing new—and more discouraging than most, to boot. (Picture book. 3-6)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2&12;A young boy provides examples of his drawings to prove that he cannot draw, and chooses instead to express himself through color. "My puppies look like mush./My cars look like lumps," he says. But with color he can reveal his feelings and impressions: yellow for happy, red for angry, black for scary. Sala's illustrations, rendered in watercolor, colored pencil, and crayon, depict a curly-haired child shown at first in black-and-white as he draws his less than satisfactory childlike images. When he talks about using color, though, the white ground comes alive with "thick" or "thin," "squiggly" or "jagged" lines. There are splashes of bright yellow and drips of "sad" blue. A rainbow of colors bursts from the boy's hand to indicate that he can have several feelings at the same time. "I'm a whole jumble of things&30;a colorful masterpiece," he declares as his Technicolor image fills the page. Encouraging experimentation with color ("What colors are you?") is fine, but this offering may also have the negative effect of quashing children's artistic efforts. Readers will very likely recognize that the protagonist's drawings closely resemble their own artwork, and could become discouraged by his belittling comments. VERDICT Peter Reynolds's Ish conveys the far more positive message that drawings do not have to be perfectly representational to be of value. An additional purchase.&12;Marianne Saccardi, Children's Literature Consultant, Cambridge, MA
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (2/1/17)
Horn Book (8/1/17)
Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal (3/1/17)
Reading Level: 2.0
Interest Level: P-2
Lexile: 340L

Adam Lehrhaupt tells a tale of the power of color in this exploration of creativity that is sure to inspire readers and budding artists!

Isn’t it fun to color?
Every color has a feeling,
just like we do.
Yellow makes us feel happy.
Dark blue can make us feel sad.
Red can seem angry.
Black can look scary.
What color do you feel like today?

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