Top critical review
Where is the joy?
Reviewed in the United States on June 15, 2016
I like Tomie dePaola's works, but this has never been a favorite. It is dePaola's autobiography--his telling of how he became an artist--distilled for little readers. DePaola's distinctive artwork pleases me just as much as always. Nevertheless, there's no pleasure in reading his words.The book's protagonist (dePaola's very young self) makes his way through part of a school year by belittling teachers and non-artistic students rather than being gracious, promoting arrogant assertiveness rather than patience, and appears to claim mastery without stooping to imitate or acquire skills from anyone. True masters of art, in whatever media, have never come to fruition in such an unguided, joyless vacuum. If my children show interest or possible potential in fine art, this story is not one I would recommend to them.