Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Art & Max
The brilliant book, Art & Max by David Wiesner, has two distinct characters. Max is high energy and loveable in an annoying way. He flies across a double-page spread running over two assistants and knocking Art's paint brush out of his hand. Max is so excited to see Art paint he's a bit reckless in his enthusiasm. Art is the expert who has three assistants and is a bit of a snob. Art is annoyed with Max in the beginning but changes at the end when Max opens his eyes to new possibilities in creating a work of art.
Art lets Max paint with him but tells him to stay out of the way. Max doesn't know what to paint and asks Art. Art replies by telling him to paint him. Max takes Art literally and paints him. The acrylic paint hardens and cracks on Art before exploding off the page to reveal pastels beneath Art. Max is fascinated by what the medium is doing while Art is furious with Max. Excited, Max rushes off the page with one finger in the air indicating he has an idea and that Art should just wait there for him. He comes back with a fan and blows the pastels off of Art who is feeling dry-mouthed from inhaling pastel dust. He asks for a drink of water and the medium turns into watercolors. Art drinks the glass of water and the watercolor washes off him completely leaving only his outline. Completely fed up with Max, Art stomps off the page while Max says "wait a minute" and grabs a hold of Art’s outline. Art completely unravels so that he disappears from the page. Max holds the tangled outline in his hands and with a baffled look says, "Arthur?"
Max then sets to work with determination, his long lizard-like tongue hanging out of his mouth, as he concentrates on putting Art back together. His first attempt is quite comical and the students laugh the hardest at this page no matter what age group I read it to. Next, Max puts art back together and the students "ooh" and "aah" as the simple lines become more complex and Art becomes recognizable. Once he is back together Max holds his finger up because he has another idea. ("Uh-oh," the students groan, along with Art's three reptillian assistants who are shaking their heads.) Max comes in with a vacuum cleaner and blasts Art with paint. Art looks completely different covered in dots to represent Pointillism.
Reading Level 0.7