A rhyming tribute to a budding young artist.
Art serves as a boy's name and favorite pastime in this cheerful sequence, which echoes Crockett Johnson's Harold and the Purple Crayon. McDonnell (The Gift of Nothing) lures readers along with antic visuals and a catchy rhyming text about "Art and his art/ Can you tell them apart?" The boy stands about an inch-and-a-half tall in the squarish pages, and in one Jackson Pollock-esque spread, he is indeed covered in his medium. Wearing his blue baseball hat backward and attired in Dennis the Menace fashion, he reaches with a brush to fill the vast white space all around him with red, yellow and blue daubs and spatters, zigzags and spirals, drips and dots. Then he grabs a thick black pencil and doodles a flat house, a basic tree and a cartoon dog. All this activity wears him out, and when he wakes from a nap, he sees his creations tacked to the fridge: "Held there by magnets/ (stars and a heart)/ Put there by mother/ 'Cause mother loves Art." The hero, drawn neatly in a clean black line, with his compact body, shock of hair and giant smile, recalls everybody from Richard Outcault's Yellow Kid to Bill Watterson's Calvin. McDonnell takes a familiar topic-an imaginative boy who loves to draw-and injects this volume with an exuberant comic-strip sensibility. Ages 3-6. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.