cover image The First Drawing

The First Drawing

Mordicai Gerstein. Little, Brown, $17 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-20478-1

In this playful account, Caldecott Medalist Gerstein (The Man Who Walked Between the Towers) suggests how and why drawing was invented, imaginatively drawing from an archeological find of cave drawings and a nearby child’s footprint. Second-person narration immediately pulls readers in: “Imagine... you were born before the invention of drawing.” A shaggy-haired modern boy, colored pencils in his back pockets, and a dog stand in front of a blank canvas. Opposite, the boy is transported. It’s 30,000 years earlier, and he has a wolf at his side. When he encounters a woolly mammoth, the boy shares the experience, using a burnt stick to depict the giant animal on a cave wall. Gerstein’s mixed-media spreads feature a mostly blue and brown palette, and thin, rainbow-hued brushstrokes add texture and vividness. The power and intrinsic reward of making art is revealed as the boy animatedly draws his mammoth over several panels—to the fear, then fascination, of his family. Artists see the world differently, but Gerstein suggests their true gift lies in allowing others to share in their visions. Ages 3–6. Agent: Joan Raines, Raines & Raines. (Sept.)