Children who love art are sure to love The First Drawing, a vibrant and imaginative book by author/illustrator Mordicai Gerstein that tells the convincing story of how “art” began.
In the book, a young cave boy’s world is overrun with animal shapes. He sees “bear” shapes in the stones he gathers, and a parade of animal shapes — including a woolly mammoth — in the fluffy clouds overhead.
He even sees animal shapes in the dancing, twirling cave fire, and when he tries to help his big family see, they label him “Child Who Sees What Isn’t There,” and order him to go to sleep.
Feeling misunderstood, he wonders how he can make them see what he sees. But it’s only after coming face-to-face with an actual musty, gigantic woolly mammoth that he finally discovers the way to show them. Art!
The First Drawing offers a unique look at how the gift of “seeing” and the frustration of being misunderstood may have possibly spawned the beginning of art as we know it.
Mr. Gerstein’s conversational writing style is cozy and age-appropriate, and his pace is perfect for the emerging reader. His illustrations are dark and rich, like the interior of a cave lit by a single fire, and his attention to detail is quite memorable — especially his drawing of the humongous woolly mammoth with the beady little eyes, staring the cave boy down.
For a delightful lesson about the possible history of art, this is the book for you. It should do well in an art class, a reading class, or in any personal or educational library.
Best wishes and happy drawings,
Picture Book Depot