Thursday, November 20, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 215

Terrific Trio: Book 2

Picture Book: The Art of Miss Chew

Author & Illustrator: Patricia Polacco

Summary: After spending the summer with her artist grandmother, Patricia wants to be an artist. Back at school she enjoys her new teacher, Mr. Donovan, an immigrant from Ireland who loves to tell family stories. However, Patricia faces two struggles: there is very little opportunity for art at school and she is having trouble taking tests because she reads very slowly. Mr. Donovan gives her more time on tests which helps a great deal. After discovering her art, he refers her to the high school art teacher, Miss Chew, who has classes for younger students. Patricia is thrilled with Miss Chew’s instruction and asks to draw Mr. Donovan’s father, whose photograph is on his desk. A few weeks later, Mr. Donovan learns that his father in Ireland has died. He leaves for the funeral, and the substitute teacher doesn’t continue to give Patricia extra time on tests and insists the art lessons be discontinued. When Patricia tells Miss Chew about her slow reading, Miss Chew refers Patricia to a reading specialist who says that Patricia sees patterns rather than letters. When Mr. Donovan returns from Ireland, all is set right again. Meanwhile, Patricia’s first painting is of Mr. Donovan’s father; it is chosen for the high school art show. Mr. Donovan is brought to tears when he sees it. A defining moment occurs for Patricia as both teachers praise her talent, and she is even more determined to become an artist.

Hanna’s Comments: Be sure to read the blurb in the back where Polacca explains more about the influence of Miss Chew and her sadness that art is underfunded in schools. This is the 2nd book in a PBT Terrific Trio by Polacco where she again tells the story of teachers’ life-changing influences on her.  

Publisher & Date of Publication: G. P. Putnam’s, 2012

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 5 and up, K and up

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: None at present

PBT Category: Post 2k

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, acceptance, aspirations/dreams, attentiveness/observation/seeing, beginnings/morning, bonds/connections, call/calling/vocation, caring/tending, challenges, creativity/imagination/ingenuity, differences, difficulties, disabilities/handicaps/limitations, education/learning/school, encouragement, gifts/talents, God’s care/providence, gratitude/thanksgiving, heroes, image of God, individuality/uniqueness, intolerance, manna, mentors/teachers, relationships, rescue, respect

Scripture Connections: (See scriptures listed for Day 214); God gives skills to artists who use their skills for God’s purposes (Exodus 28:3; 31:2; 35:25); honor everyone (1 Peter 2:17)

Idea(s) for Application: What strikes me about this book is the way in which Polacca’s two teachers honored her uniqueness, whereas the substitute teacher did not. Read this story to children or youth and engage them in conversation about diversity in skills and people. Help them consider whether they tend to honor and encourage these or whether they criticize when someone is unique.

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