THE FIRST DRAWING by Mordicai Gerstein


Age Range: 2 - 6
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Who made the world’s first drawing—and why?

Caldecott Medalist Gerstein gives his own imagined answer to this question in a polished tale of a boy living 30,000 years ago with his pet wolf and his very extended family. Using narrative direct address (“Imagine… / you were born before the invention of drawing”) to effectively bridge the gap between prehistoric times and the present, the story follows the boy on his fanciful discoveries of wooly mammoths in clouds, bears in stones and horses galloping on cave walls. The boy tries to show his family what he sees, but they see only a cloud, a rock and a cave. Gerstein’s acrylic, pen-and-ink and colored-pencil mixed-media illustrations create depth and a sense of the past, as well as imparting liveliness and possibility to what could easily have become simply flat drawings. Like the boy in the story who finally, in frustration, picks up a charred stick and draws on the cave wall to make what he sees in his imagination plain to his family, readers may discover that they see pictures of their own within these layered illustrations.

Solid storytelling, satisfying narrative circularity, and masterful, creative illustrations make this an inspiring story for young artists. (author’s note) (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-316-20478-1
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2013


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