The Picture that Mom Drew (book cover)

The Picture that Mom Drew

by Kathy Mallat and Bruce McMillan
illustrated by Kathy Mallat
photo-illustrated by Bruce McMillan

Hardcover Trade: Not available
Hardcover Reinforced Trade: Available

Bruce's Thirty-seventh Book
1997 - Walker Books
Hardcover Trade
ISBN 0-8027-8617-0, $14.95
Reinforced Hardcover Trade
ISBN 0-8027-8618-9, $15.85
More about Kathy Mallat

Visit Kathy Mallat's Web Site
Awards and Honors
Personal Note

"Instructive and joyful...
a top-notch combination of
text and graphics

Booklist, Starred Review, January, 1997

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Awards and Honors

Starred Review, Booklist, January 1997

On her visit from Iceland Halla (Nights of the Pufflings)
meets the Mallat family.

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Personal Note

Kathy teaches elementary art in Lebanon, Maine. She and I met when a school teacher at her school suggested Erin to me as the subject for my book, Eating Fractions. Kathy later took my UNH class and that was the start to her getting published with The Picture that Mom Drew. Since then she has gone on to do many more books. It's a family affair with both daughters having been in them, one featuring daughter Meg's interest in trains, and her husband Steve taking her author pictures. We have become great friends. For more on Kathy's books click here.

The book was photographed in the summer at the beach. However, I needed a better photo for the "colors" page, and it was awhile before we got together to shoot it. In fact it was January. It might look sunny and warm in that photo of the colored pencils close-up, but Kathy and I can assure you it was sunny and well below freezing.

Like most of my newer books, I designed this one. I created many of the key word letters to compliment the art concept that Kathy was drawing.

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Using only a piece of paper and colored pencils, elementary art teacher Kathy Mallat creates, and Bruce McMillan photographs, a vibrant picture right before your eyes. In the process of making the art, viewers see her combine the seven basic elements of art: colors, lines, shapes, forms, shades, patterns, and textures. Each is step photographed as she draws and described in a playful cumulative text narrated by her daughters. It all adds up to a beautiful finished drawing - and a delightfully clever surprise. This is the art that Kathy built.

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December 15, 1996

"Children will enjoy the surprise... and learn something about looking at art in the process."

Mallat, Kathy & Bruce McMillan
Photos by Bruce McMillan
Illus. by Kathy Mallat
Walker (24 pp.) $15.95 PLB $16.85
Mar. 1997 ISBN: 0-8027-8617-0 PLB 0-8027-8618-9

While many a beginning concept book focuses solely on colors or shapes, this picture-book collaboration of a newcomer and a veteran introduces young viewers to additional elements of art, including lines, forms, shades, patterns, and textures. In a cumulative This-Is-the-House-That-Jack-Built text, a blank piece of paper in the hands of a mother drawing at the beach becomes a finished portrait of her two daughters. The girls narrate: "These are the lines/sketched with the colors/that brightened the paper/used for the picture/that Mom drew." Each art term is highlighted in type that demonstrates the concept described (e.g., the word lines is underlined). McMillan's trademark full-color photographs take center stage in the first few pages, then become less conspicuous as the portrait develops and becomes the focus. The photos of the creation of the drawing do not always follow the cumulative pattern of the text; instead, the camera zooms in to a specific part of the page to explore the technique. Children will enjoy the surprise of seeing close-up forms, shapes, and textures become a larger whole when the picture is unveiled in the final spread, and learn something about looking at art in the process. (glossary) (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-8)

This copyrighted © review originally appeared in Kirkus Reviews and appears here with permission.

January, 1997

"Terms such as line, form, and shape, are presented in display type that's carefully chosen to reflect the concepts being defined. They are closely keyed to McMillan's photos, which make marvelous vehicles for discussing the magical way artists create form, depth, and life on a piece of plain white paper."

School Arts
November, 1997

"Really sharp photography (McMillan has dozens of picture books to his credit) and a clean design make this an attractive resource.."

Bruce note: I always tell my university classes, including the one Kathy took, "Remember, you get to do the book and they get to do the review. Which would you rather be doing?" Read on . . .

School Library Journal
April 1997

Mallat, Kathy & Bruce McMillan.
The Picture That Mom Drew
photos. by Bruce McMillan.
illus. by Kathy Mallat.
unpaged. CIP Walker. 1997.
Tr $14.95. ISBN 0-8027-8617-0;
RTE $15.85. ISBN 0-8027-8618-9. LC 96-30165.

K-Gr. 3 - Though visually appealing, this book is not successful in presenting its subject matter. Patterned after "The House That Jack Built," it attempts to introduce the tools and artistic elements used in the picture that a mother draws as her two daughters, appearing in full-color photos, watch. The design is clear and open. The large type on the left and the colorful drawing in progress on the right show up well on the slick white paper. The picture illustrates the terms in the text, one new one for each spread. The term that each sequential picture illustrates is done in type to further elucidate its meaning. For example, "colors" is comprised of different color letters and "shapes" is shown in two dimensions. All terms are briefly but adequately defined in an afterward. However, the format indicates a very young audience, yet many of the artistic terms, and the words used to present and define them, are too difficult for young children. Also, as the art terms become more complex, it becomes increasingly difficult to make the associations between the word and the pictorial detail. The rigid, repetitive text becomes cumbersome and will not hold the interest of readers old enough to make sense of the information. - Karen James, Louisville Free Public Library, KY

This copyrighted © review originally appeared in School Library Journal and appears here with permission.

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