cover image The Art Collector

The Art Collector

Jan Wahl, illus. by Rosalinde Bonnet. Charlesbridge, $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-58089-270-4

Wahl (Bear Dance) has a fresh suggestion: making art isn't the only way to enjoy it. Oscar falls in love with Great-Granny's drawing of a rooster, but can't make one as nice himself. "Oscar frowned. And he crumpled it up." Instead of learning to draw, Oscar becomes a connoisseur. He falls in love with an etching of an old mill at a flea market ("The etching cost one dollar. Oscar counted out coins and tugged at Pa. %E2%80%98I must have it,' he said"), and by the time he's grown up, his collection is so big that "a museum had to be built to hold it." In Bonnet's (The Little Red Elf) crisp cartoon illustrations, Oscar, with his round head and rosy cheeks, is an appealing protagonist; larger spreads give readers lots to look at, as Wahl inspects Oscar's paintings one by one ("In a Japanese woodcut, a bamboo lute strummed"). In addition to the overarching theme about art appreciation, the book champions the idea that children may turn to serious work early in their lives. Ages 5%E2%80%938. (July)