Tommy knows he wants to be an artist when he grows up. He draws pictures every chance he gets, and his family and friends encourage him, hanging his pictures up everywhere. Tommy takes the advice of his twin cousins, who are already grown-up artists: he practices all the time, and never copies. But while it's fine being an artist on his own, school is another world entirely. The kindergarten teacher gives them paint that cracks and flakes, and the first-grade teacher only allows them one piece of paper! Tommy can't wait for his first real art lesson. But when the art teacher comes, Tommy is in for a shock. She wants him to copy — and to use the school's box of 8 crayons instead of his magnificent birthday box of 64. Tommy has had enough. He rebels, and the teacher, seeing how serious he is, suggests a compromise that works for everyone.
Tomie dePaola is the author and illustrator of many beloved books for children, including the Caldecott Honor Book Strega Nona. Fans of all ages will be pleased to hear that The Art Lesson is, in fact, based on the artist's own experiences growing up, and offers a welcome glimpse into his past. This bright picture book is as covered with drawings as the walls of Tommy's parents' and grandparents' houses, and sends an inspirational message to budding artists and individualists. Break out the crayons!