Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Leaping Lizards

Not many author/illustrators can claim winning the esteemed Caldecott Award three times or the Caldecott Honor Award twice but David Wiesner can.  His newest picture book, Art & Max, is most assuredly headed in that direction. 

A small lizard runs pell mell across a desert landscape as the reader turns the first page...that's Max, a would-be artist.  He excitedly approaches a larger lizard, completely engrossed in his newest portrait...that's Arthur, Art as Max calls him, an artist of quite some talent.   Against his better judgment Arthur agrees to have Max paint beside him also replying to Max's question of what he should paint by saying, Well...you could paint me.  At this point the reader pauses thinking, Oh, Oh, because they already know Max and how his mind will interpret that phrase.

What follows is a kaleidoscopic, fantastical explosion of color as Art undergoes a transformation from one artistic medium to another via the offbeat leaps of Max's mind.  His reduction to a pile of stringy lines does not deter Max though.  He restores Arthur to his original self...well almost.  Not only does Arthur's physical self shift page by page but so does his perception of what art is and how to get there.

Weisner offers readers of Art & Max a chance to scamper through an adventure of unbridled curiosity, creativity and the sheer joy of discovery.  His characters' expressions mirror those found on the frog faces in Tuesday.  He challenges us to think along uncharted paths as he did in The Three Pigs, Flotsam and Sector 7.  He takes us to a world where we might not go as he did in Free Fall.  In a word...genius.

By linking to his web site shown in blue explore the creative process used in fashioning this book.  I am definitely going to be expanding my use of his books to a full-blown author study. 

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