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ChildrensPictureBook.info Review

ish
By Peter H. Reynolds
Publisher Candlewick Press

There is probably a little bit of perfectionist in all of us when it comes to drawing. When we try to draw a vase of flowers, the more it looks exactly like a vase of flowers, the better we feel. Children will often refuse to draw something because they are certain they can't make it look just right. But, that's the catch. We'll never be able to draw a vase of flowers perfectly if we don't first learn to draw the ish way. A vase needn't be perfect. It can be vase-ish. The flowers don't need to be perfect, just flower-ish.

Drawing the ish way frees the artist to try new things and learn in the process.

Getting the "I can't" child to put crayon to paper can be easier if they understand the power of -ish.

Peter H. Reynolds understands this. In ish, he tells the story of a young artist, Ramon, who loves to draw until his older brother makes fun of his drawing of a vase of flowers. After that his drawings are never good enough, and he crumples and discards them. The effort to be perfect makes him irritable, so when his little sister takes off with one of his discards, he angrily pursues her. In her room, he finds she's posted his drawings all over her walls. She explains that she likes his drawings because the vase of flowers he thinks is inadequate looks vase-ish. Looking at the ishness of each drawing, he decides she's right. Freed to draw again, he soon discovers that he can make ish drawings for feelings, too. He then branches out to start writing poems that are poem-ish. He's freed to be creative.

This wonderful picture book should be mandatory reading for all children before they get entrenched in the notion that artistic creations must be more than -ish to be worthy.


ish

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