The Art Lesson

by Tomie dePaola

Hardcover, 1989

Call number



G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers (1989), Edition: First Edition, 32 pages


Having learned to be creative in drawing pictures at home, young Tommy is dismayed when he goes to school and finds the art lesson there much more regimented.

User reviews

LibraryThing member jhill06
This is a good example of realistic fiction because the plot and setting of Tommy wanting to be an artist is present day and believable. Tommy is a realistic character and his problem of not getting to be creative in the classroom is one that many kids feel.
Genre: Realistic Fiction.
LibraryThing member Kathdavis54
Tommy is a young boy who loves to draw. He will draw on anything--paper, sheets, and walls. When he goes to school he eagerly awaits his first art lesson. He must eventually learn how to let someone teach him about his passion. A charming story adults and children will both love!
LibraryThing member setonhansen
This is about a boy who loves to draw. Its pretty much all he ever wants to do. He is excited to begin school because of art lessons. When he gets to kindergarten he finds out art lessons dont start until first grade, you only get one paper, you can only use school crayons, and you have to copy.
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The teachers decide he has to do the same thing as all the other children and if there is time leftover he can have a second piece of paper and draw whatever he wants.
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LibraryThing member mdkladke
Tommy loves to draw in this book, which a lot of kids do. He finds that when he goes to school he can't start actually drawing until the first grade and doesn't like it very much. This is a good book to read to children because they will know that one day their passion of whatever they want to do
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can be fulfilled.
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LibraryThing member susanmartling
In this autobiographical tale, Tomie DePaola tells of his early days as an artist. Upon starting grade school, he encountered the limits of the institutional setting on creativity but was lucky enough to have an art teacher who recognized his personal needs and was willing to compromise--she let
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him use his 64 pack of crayons and let him have more than one piece of paper! This book gives a clear example of a main idea and supporting details and can be used as a model to illustrate this element in reading and writing.
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LibraryThing member klauden
Ever since Tommy was little he knew he wanted to become an artist. He was so excited for first grade when he got to have art lessons. When he gets to school and meets his art teacher he learns he can only have one piece of paper and he has to copy what the teacher does. Tommy is frustrated because
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he claims real artists don’t copy.

As you read/listen, look for connections to your own life or connections to other text you know. How does the story make you feel toward Tommy? Do you feel it was fair how the teachers handled his problems? Do you agree that artists never copy? What may have happened to Tommy if he did not speak up for himself? An interesting issue that it addresses is fairness of teachers.
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LibraryThing member dfarhat
Tommy loves to draw. When he grows up, he wants to be an artist. When he finally has a 'real' art class, he is surprised that there are 'rules' to follow (he can only use school crayons, he can't draw his own picture--he has to draw what his teacher drew). Working with his art teacher, they come up
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with a compromise that leaves everyone happy.
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LibraryThing member SandraKLee
I love how Tomie dePaola puts parts of himself and his books into this story.
LibraryThing member aflanig1
Great story about perseverance and individuality
LibraryThing member ahauze
The Art Lesson is based off of Tomie dePaola's experiences during his childhood and the beginnings of his path to become an artist.
LibraryThing member amandawebster
Taken from dePaola's own school experiences, his main character Tommy is frustrated when he cannot use his own crayons in art class, only gets one sheet of paper, and is forced to "copy." A cute story for all aspiring artists.
LibraryThing member mspisa1
I truly liked this book. First, the sentence structure was very age appropriate. I can see this book being for first or second grade students, so the sentence structure should not be too complicated. Each sentence in the book was short, with the longest sentence being about 11 words long, and that
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was to include a list of colors. Also, the sentences, although short, showcased different grammatical elements such as comma use and appositive phrases. Even though that may not be important for a first or second grader to know, simply having them in easy-to-read sentences introduces those aspects and interesting cadence of sentences to young readers. I also liked this book for its conflict. Tommy, the main character, wanted to grow up to be an artist, and was given a big box of crayons to color with in school. When it came time to draw, the teacher did not allow Tommy to use all his crayons because the other students did not have the same colors Tommy did, so he felt held back. This conflict is not too intricate or dire to scare a young reader away, but just difficult enough for a young reader to relate to and not understand how to deal with, making the book relatable to its target audience. Overall, the big idea of this book is although you may not be able to do what you think is right all the time, compromise and determination can make the path to your dream and achieving your dream less difficult.
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LibraryThing member kmcgiverin05
The Art Lesson is a realistic fiction book. This could happen anywhere and anytime, the characters are believable and the reader connects well with the main character. I would use this in the classroom to show that teachers aren't always right and that it is important to follow your dreams and
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talents. I think Tommy the main character is a dynamic character but not round. He doesn't change much, but he learns that he has a skill and that for school he needs to make an effort to be taught to enhance his skill. I think Tommy is so passionate about art that he makes it happen in school the way he wants it. Things in the end didn't turn out perfectly but it was a good compromise between Tommy and his teachers.
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LibraryThing member jsmith6243
I enjoy sharing this book with my students to show them how someone's talents begins and how it takes encouragement to motivate someone to do their best. It gets students talking about ways to encourage each other.
LibraryThing member cwollan09
Genre: Autobiography

Plot: The story line of "The Art Lesson" is about a young boy, Tommy, who wants to be an artist, but has to overcome several obstacles. At first, he draws anywhere and everywhere he can. The plot rises when he arrives at school and his art time, materials, and style is limited
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by the teachers. The resolution to this story is communicating his desire to be an artist with his teachers and them accommodating for his dream.

Review: Tommy is a young boy who dreams of becoming an artist and wants to practice as much as he can. This book is a good example of an autobiography because it shares events from Tommie dePaola's beginning art days. Although the book is written in third person, at the end it reveals that it is about himself.

Media: Crayon
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LibraryThing member claire.cavell
Tommy wants to be an artist when he gets older and can't wait until first grade where they have art lessons.
LibraryThing member lquilter
I love Tomie dePaola's art, but this (autobiographical?) story didn't do it for me. The child's love of drawing, and his focus on it, are great. But school ends up looking demoralizing and deadening -- no art teacher "this year" (kindergarten); then when she comes they get one piece of paper,
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regulation crayons, formulaic and non-creative lessons -- it's art by rote. The lessons he receives from his cousins -- art students -- are that "real artists don't copy", which is utterly untrue: Real artists copy all the time, and in fact, copying is one of the fundamental ways we learn art, or anything else. As a depiction of a kid that has a passion, and has to learn to compromise to explore his passion, the story works pretty well.
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LibraryThing member vossc2009
I really enjoyed this book and I think it is great for elementary kids to learn from character development. In this story this little boy enjoys paitning and doing art and he gets discourged by many people and then he ends up becoming an artist when he is older. I would use this book in a second or
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third grade classroom.
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LibraryThing member alyssabuzbee
This story was inspired by the author/illustrator's own experiences with a teacher who stifled his creativity. This is a great way to teach children to be true to themselves and their talents.
LibraryThing member dukefan86
This was a pretty cute story, but I was expecting a little more umph. I still enjoy dePaola's work!
LibraryThing member Fjola
I like the pictures fine but something about the story rubbed me the wrong way. In fact, I found most of it quite irrelevant, detailed facts about an experience the author had with an art teacher during his childhood. Not sure what the message is aside from you-may-run-into-stupid-people-in-life
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and don't think kids will care all that much. I mean, it's great that he pulled through it, but what exactly is he trying to communicate to children with this book?
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LibraryThing member NoahGray
After reading The Art Lesson, I found a new appreciation for Tommie dePaola. I have been reading his stories since I was a child and have always loved his stories and illustrations. It was not until I recently read “The Art Lesson” did I appreciate how great of an artist dePaola is. The
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illustrations in the story are of himself as a young boy and hopeful artist. I love how dePaola brings the reader in and shows them who he was and how he came to be such a great author and illustrator. The illustrations are visually appealing and is my favorite characteristic of the book. Another characteristic of the book is the semi-biographical aspect of the story. I loved that this was a book that was somewhat realistic to the authors life. Overall, I really enjoyed reading “The Art Lesson” and would recommend this story to all readers and hopeful authors.
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LibraryThing member mrcmyoung
Tommy's passions for drawing and becoming an original artist are encouraged by his family but stymied by his first grade teacher's rules about how art will be done in class. A charming autobiography about staying true to your dreams.
LibraryThing member zulain
ages 4-7
This book is a great book about a boy named Tommy who wants to be an artist when he grows up. When Tommy gets to school he finds out that the art lessons are full of rules! he is surprised and disappointed. The art teacher finds a way to give Tommy the freedom to create and stay within the
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"rules" and makes a wonderful way of thinking about growing up and keeping one's individuality.
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LibraryThing member mtrail3
I liked this book because of two reasons, first, the illustrations. The pictures were colorful and represented the text well. I believe this story would be great for students of all different ages and abilities. The text is sophisticated enough to hold the attention of older children and the
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illustrations would appeal to younger students as well as, those students who prefer visuals to aid in the learning process. The other reason why I like this book is the plot and the big idea that goes along with it. The Art Lesson is a relatable story to all readers because it follows a young boy who loves to draw and wants to be an artist. Even though, his love for art is not recognized at first, the little boy is determined to follow his dreams and do what he does best. This is a great message to students to always follow your dreams and do your best no matter what.
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Nebraska Golden Sower Award (Nominee — 1991)
Kentucky Bluegrass Award (Nominee — Grades K-3 — 1992)
Grand Canyon Reader Award (Nominee — Picture Books — 1993)




039921688X / 9780399216886
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