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Beautiful, Captivating Picture Book, Art and Max

November 28, 2010

Art & Max
written and illustrated by David Wiesner
Clarion Books, 2010
picture book

Art, besides being a metaphor and a lizard, is an artist.

Max, is, well, Art’s smaller lizard friend who wants to be an artist, too. When Art suggests Max paint him, Max literally paints Art’s body which — not what Art had in mind.

The paint covering Art cracks and explodes, revealing pastels and Art without an outline. You must see this for yourself! The colors pop off the page, it’s incredible.

Max tries to fix everything but when Art gets back the outline of his shape, he loses all his color. It’s surreal. It’s absolutely captivating.

Art runs. Max holds on. Art unravels.Max holds the lines which formerly made up his buddy. The lines are squiggly and jumbled; Max looks worried and . . . you’ll have to read the book to see what happens.

The beauty of the picture book is multi-dimensional. First, the artistry of the illustrations will amaze you. But, this is no surprise to those of you who know that Wiesner is a three time Caldicott award winner for his illustrations. Second, the story is fun – and we empathize with Max as he creates disaster after disaster, all with the best of intentions. Third, the symbolism will keep you thinking. Is this a larger metaphor for what is art? Is there one way to create art?

I’ll let you be the judge of that as well.

It’s a book for the young and old, the dreamer and the creator. I highly suggest this book for holiday gift giving, adults and kids alike.

Book Play: Try this interactive coloring book from Art and Max. Read as many of David Wiesner’s books as you can. This is called an author study. Watch Wiesner in this video as he describes his creative process. Discuss how Wiesner’s books are similar to each other. How are they different? Choose your favorites and say why.

WIN a copy of Art and Max. E-mail your name and address (to make book delivery faster) to deborah.mock@parenthood.com with “Art and Max” in the subject line. We will randomly select one lucky winner to receive a copy of the book. Deadline for entry is midnight MST on December 5, 2010

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