The Art Lesson

The Art Lesson


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Tommy knows he wants to be an artist when he grows up. He can't wait to get to school and have real art lessons. When Tommy gets to school and finds out that the art lessons are full of "rules", he is surprised and dismayed. How the wise art teacher finds a way to give Tommy the freedom to create and stay within the "rules" makes a wonderfully perceptive picture book about growing up and keeping one's individuality.

Tomie dePaola is the author and illustrator of many beloved books for children, including the Caldecott Honor Book Strega Nona. Fans of all ages will be pleased to hear that The Art Lesson is, in fact, based on the artist's own experiences growing up, and offers a welcome glimpse into his past. This bright picture book is as covered with drawings as the walls of Tommy's parents' and grandparents' houses, and sends an inspirational message to budding artists and individualists. Break out the crayons!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780698115729
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 12/28/2001
Series: Paperstar Book
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 32
Sales rank: 59,735
Product dimensions: 8.06(w) x 10.06(h) x 0.12(d)
Age Range: 2 - 5 Years

About the Author

Best known for his award-winning picture book Strega Nona and for the 26 Fairmount Avenue series of chapter books, Tomie dePaola is one of the most prolific and beloved author/illustrators in the field of children's literature.


Connecticut and New Hampshire

Date of Birth:

September 15, 1935

Place of Birth:

Meriden, CT

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"DePaola's well-honed, color drenched warmly appealing; a deceptively simple approach underscored by pure craft". — Booklist, starred review

"The perennial conflict between Individual and Authority, or between Artist and Society, lies beneath this anecdote, and it's gratifying to see the small non-conformist accommodated. Everyone can enjoy dePaola's gentle autobiographical evocation of a loving family and a happy obsession". — School Library Journal

Customer Reviews

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The Art Lesson 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book helps to show kids that they can have different favorite activities then there friends. It also show that by practicing something can help you follow your dreams. It is a good thing to be creative and unique. The pictures in the book do a very good job of telling the story. I really enjoy this book and believe that it has many lessons that can be learned.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Art Lesson by Tommie dePaola is a great children's book. It is about a little boy named Tommy who wanted to be an artist when he grew up. He used to draw pictures all the time and sometimes sold them for five cents. When he went to kindergarten he was excited because he thought that he was going to get real art lessons. But as it turned out he didn't get them until first grade. When he entered first grade he got a box of sixty four pack of crayons for his birthday. He had a great time during the art lessons drawing all kinds of pictures.The problem was that his teacher wouldn't let him use his own crayons , so he had to make a special deal with her so he could use them. My favorite part was when he drew all of his friends and when he drew pictures on his sheets. This is a great realistic fiction book, i hope that you will read it. The reason i read this book is because i like drawing and also it makes you think that you are really there.This book is special because it shows you that if you keep Practing at something then you¿ll finally get it. I recommend this book this book to everyone because it is such a great book. This book is like all the other Tommie dePaola books i hope that you will enjoy as much as i did.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I play and explore with young children everyday, this book is excellent. Children need the chance for creativity.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought by the various reviews/awards this book has received that it would at least be a 3 out of 5! However this in NOT a book that should be read to children! In class all of the children are proviided w/8 crayons to use on their project & Tommy has brought his box of 64 crayons he got as a birthday present, however he is told by the teacher that he is not allowed to use them because it would not be fair to the other children in class who only have access to 8 crayons. So instead of accepting this Tommy sneaks in the crayons under his shirt (the fact that he snuck them in shows he knows full well he's doing something he's not supposed to) and ends up getting to use them-teaching children it's fine to disobey your teacher. It's also disparraging to art teachers and our public schools-portraying them in a very negative light. The whole 'moral' of the story tells kids to just complain and ignore the rules and you'll get what you want. I had other art educators & mothers read this book and they all agreed it was very poor.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is very good book about art lesson's this book will help kids learn art with this book and understand what tomie had ro learn all about art.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. It was a reminder to me that children can be affected by the decisions we adults make for them. Imagine how Tomie might have felt if the art teacher had not found a way to let him exercise his creativity and use his own crayons too.
MsKristiesClass More than 1 year ago
The art lesson is about where a little boy wants to be an artist when he grows up. Because it was his favorite thing to do. Tommy drew and drew  and he even drew 2 twins .They were beautiful drawings. His mother hung one of his pictures up in her room and his dad put  one up in his Barbra shop.  And one time tommy took a flashlight up under his sheets and started to  draw.  I like this book because I like to paint. Plus i liked where he drew a picture of the two twins. I also like the part where he let his father put 1 of his pictures up at the Barbra shop and let everybody could look at it at the Barbra.  If you like to paint maybe you should look at this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Precious story, and one children can relate to!
jhill06 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Critique: 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.
vossc2009 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 third grade classroom.
aflanig1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Great story about perseverance and individuality
dfarhat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 with a compromise that leaves everyone happy.
kmcgiverin05 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 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.
Kathdavis54 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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!
mrcmyoung on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
jsmith6243 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
amandawebster on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
claire.cavell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tommy wants to be an artist when he gets older and can't wait until first grade where they have art lessons.
alyssabuzbee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
roseread More than 1 year ago
I stress art in with my children and in the classroom. Children need to express themselves through many avenues. Currently, society is taking away music, art and outdoor and physical education. Children 0-21 need to draw, paint, sing, dance, run and use their imaginations to explore their world. We need to encourage and support the artistic nature of all children. This book helps children realize how their artistic skills can also benefit the world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
My favorite character in the book is * Tommy, because he is super talented. One time he painted a picture of a goofy pumpkin.