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Great Illustrated Books

Art & Max

By David Wiesner

Clarion Books, 2010
Pages : 40
Suggested Ages: 3-8
ISBN: 0618756639

Every time you think David Wiesner can't surpass his last award-winning picture book, he gobsmacks you anew with something astonishing. Meet Art and Max, two desert lizards who love to paint. Arthur, the establishment guy, is a slightly pompous brown horned lizard who paints serious portraits of other lizards. Little green Max is the goofy young upstart who insists he can paint, but doesn't know what to paint. Arthur says, "Well . . . you could paint me." Max takes him literally, covering Art's body in dripping blues, yellows and reds. That's when the book really goes haywire. "Max!" Arthur roars, indignantly, causing the paint to literally explode from his body, leaving him with an undercoat of dusty rainbow colors. When he takes a drink of water, the color washes right off leaving only his outline. Max grabs hold of Art's tail, and the line collapses into a tangle, which Max then reassembles and recolors, Jackson Pollock-style. Visually mind-blowing, this is an imaginative romp that defies logic but gets us all looking at Art (and Arthur) with fresh eyes.

Reviewed by :

Themes : ANIMALS. ART. FRIENDSHIP.

If you love this book, then try:

Bishop, Nic. Nic Bishop Lizards. Scholastic, 2010.


Hurd, Thacher. Art Dog. HarperCollins, 1996.


Juster, Norton. The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics. Chronicle, 2000, c1963.


Laden, Nina. When Pigasso Met Mootisse. Chronicle, 1998.


LaMarche, Jim. The Raft. HarperCollins, 2000.


Lithgow, John. Micawber. Simon & Schuster, 2002.


Raczka, Bob. Art Is . . . Millbrook, 2003.


Reynolds, Peter H. The Dot. Candlewick, 2003.


Thomson, Bill. Chalk. Marshall Cavendish, 2010.


Wiesner, David. Flotsam. Clarion, 2006.


Wiesner, David. Free Fall. Lothrop, 1988.


Wiesner, David. Sector 7. Clarion, 1999.


Wiesner, David. The Three Pigs. Clarion, 2001.


Wiesner, David. Tuesday. Clarion, 1991.

Critics have said

"This small-scale and surprisingly comedic story takes place against a placid backdrop of pale desert colors, which recedes to keep the focus squarely on the dynamic between the two lizards and the wide range of emotions that Wiesner masterfully evokes."
Publishers Weekly
"Triple Caldecott winner Wiesner delivers a wildly trippy, funny and original interpretation of the artistic process. In this illustrator's world, mind-blowing art comes from accident, if you're brave enough (like Max) to smile and take an awkward leap."
Kirkus