Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I Gotta Draw!

Bruce Degen, well-known illustrator of such children’s classics as Jamberry and Joanna Cole’s Magic School Bus series, has written a new story about a young dog from Brooklyn named Charlie Muttnik, who feels an irresistible urge to draw during most of his waking hours. Charlie’s passion tends to get him into trouble with his parents and especially with his strict new teacher, Miss Rich. 
When Charlie is assigned a school report on climate, he decides he can do a much more effective job by drawing the environments and conditions he has been asked to describe. When Miss Rich sees his report, she realizes that a new approach to teaching may suit Charlie better than the one she’s been using. Soon Charlie is allowed  to draw his spelling words and recite the spelling out loud rather than writing the words on paper. Miss Rich is surprised and delighted to find that Charlie is actually much brighter than she’d given him credit for, and his grades immediately begin to improve. She then begins to encourage his and her other students’ artistic expression, and Charlie, in turn, starts to excel in all of his subjects, even winning an award at the school art show.

All of our children have unique methods of deciphering the world and their place in it. With the arts currently being assigned a back seat in many school curricula, this book was a sign of encouragement that, with an open mind and an adventurous spirit, their individual learning styles can be accomodated. Parents of learners of all different styles will appreciate the loving approach to bringing out the best in all of our children. As usual, Degen’s illustrations are fun, and colorful. In my opinion, Bruce Degen has scored another children's book success! Guest post by Bridget W.

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