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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Shows the tools an artist uses -- pencil, chalk, paints. Shows what a classroom setting is like, with tests, homework papers, and report cards. Several fun puns in this dog-and-cat world, from canine characters Charlie Muttnik and Principal Bowser to the space alien Charlie draws: E.T.T., for Extra-Terrestrial Terrier.
Suggests that kids should try hard in school, even if they learn differently than most of the kids. Shows that a good teacher can bring out the best in a student who learns differently than most of his classmates. Implies that a person should follow his or her passion, despite feeling like a misfit.
Positive Role Models
Charlie loves to draw and never stops pursuing his passion for art. His home is crowded and busy, but his parents are concerned, loving, and ultimately supportive. His feline teacher is a fantatsic role model, because she finds a way to help Charlie learn while doing what he loves: drawing.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that I Gotta Draw portrays a misfit student (a dog) who loves to draw but isn't doing well in school -- until an understanding and clever new teacher (a cat) finds a way to reach him and teach him by letting him draw as he learns. This is a great book for kids who feel like others don't understand their passion or talent and for kids who care more about art than some of the other things that are more validated by classmates, teachers, and family members. The teacher in the book is a model of individualized instruction who's not willing to accept failure from a student who has trouble conforming.
Is It Any Good?
Without being heavy-handed, I GOTTA DRAW conveys a great message about learning differences. It also celebrates a teacher who can think outside the box and bring out the best in her students. Bruce Degen, illustrator of the Magic School Bus series, shows what it feels like to be an artistic kid who's saved from academic failure by an insightful, creative teacher who figures out how to help him learn while using his skill as an artist.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.