Clarion Books, $17.99, 40 pages
Max, the lizard wants to learn to paint. His friend Arthur already knows about art and offers to teach Max. But Arthur is very busy painting a formal portrait. Max is so excited to start and all he needs is a subject. He convinces Art to let Max paint him. But instead of painting on a canvas, he paints all over Art! David Wiesner takes us on an artistic adventure shared by Art, who wants to follow traditional rules with his formal portraits, and Max, who wants to experiment by flinging paint like Jackson Pollock, watering the paint down to create watercolors, using the dot method like Seurat, and re-drawing his friend using figure and line drawing techniques.
This book has only a few words because the emphasis is on visual storytelling. The author gives us an art history lesson on each page. We get a life lesson as well. Art, the teacher, ends up learning that it is okay to let go and let your imagination and colors run free. And, it is okay to go beyond the lines and even better if those lines disappear altogether. It is no surprise that Wiesner has won the Caldecott Medal three times for his work.
Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin