cover image I Wish I Could Draw

I Wish I Could Draw

Cary Fagan. Groundwood (PGW, dist.), $12.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-55498-318-6

Fagan (Oy, Feh, So?) may know how to tell a story, but he can’t draw. So he claims (and demonstrates) in this faux sketchbook full of his frustrated comments and basic line drawings. “Look! I even put my hands behind my back because it’s so hard for me to draw hands,” he points out after scrawling a self-portrait that’s just outside stick-figure territory. He tries a still life, complete with teapot and fruit, but he’s still not happy. “I’m so mad I can’t draw that I look like this!” shouts cartoon Cary, scowling with “angry” eyebrows. Grudgingly, Cary admits that some of his drawings are “not too bad,” spurring him to create a story in which he fends off a hungry dragon by playing the mandolin. By book’s end, readers will recognize that, amid all the self-abasement, Fagan is encouraging them to scribble, doodle, and draw away, without worrying whether their art is “good” enough. And really, the book is evidence in itself: if drawings as “bad” as these can get their own book, then there’s hope for all of us. Ages 5–8. [em](May) [/em]