Sunday, May 3, 2015

Book Review: Draw!

I happened upon the book, Draw!, by Raul Colon at our local library recently. I was truly mesmerized. It is a wordless book with a young boy reading a book about Africa on his bed with a sketch pad in his hand.

As he draws and explores the deserts, he is actually transported to the desert. He gets up close to the elephant for sketching and riding. He uses binoculars to see zebras as he is perched on top of the elephant. He draws giraffes as they run by. He draw the lions as he sits in a tree, with the elephant nearby. He draws gorillas and hippos. He swing through the air on nearby vines. He is chased by a rhinoceros. Monkeys draw him. 


Near the end, he hugs the elephant and is transported back to his bedroom full of sketches. Soon, he shares his artwork in class, enriched by his experiences visiting the desert. 


I loved the imagination and creativity in Draw! I have a little artist and explorer, as well. I love watching him try things out with line and movement, so could see my own little boy in this book. While I fully advocate learning about the animals right in our back yards and local areas, I found this delightful because of the artwork, creativity, and imagination. I loved the points, lines, and scratches that provide depth, color, and texture to the artwork. The artist shares a note at the end explaining living in NYC and Puerto Rico as a child. Having ready access to paper, books, and info on great artists, he became an artist. He ends the note with "By blending the visual of life in the wild with my childhood memories, I dreamed up the images in this book. Now I hope these images inspire others to have their very own  dreams, and just draw--draw away." I was certainly inspired! 

The book reminds me that we can all explore no matter where we might be, as books give us a portal. Through art, we can record our journey. Wordless books can be a delightful journey as we tell the story ourselves while interacting with our audience. I can imagine the dialogue as the young boy says goodbye to his friend, the elephant. 

Want to learn more about the artist's inspiration and process? Read an interview with him here
More about the author.
Video of the book, with one reader's words to go with the book. 
I might extend this to imagine life in a forest or pond, as our perspective might be different if we're the illustrator along the way. Also, I wonder if this could be a type of guided imaginary experience with children to "wonder" what all the animals are doing in an area. Of course the book lends itself to various art applications, through trying the artist's scratch technique, sketch book work, art exhibitions, etc. 


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