Morris the Artist by Lore Segal. il by Boris Kulikov.
Frances Foster Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux: NY, 2003.

Morris brings what he thinks is the best present ever to Benjamin's birthday party. After seeing the other kids' gifts, he's embarrassed and not sure he wants to hand his over. As the party goes on, the present becomes a burden, and he gives it to Benjamin. Art supplies, it's the type of gift that is overlooked in the excitement of a party, but when Morris shows the others what can be done with the paints, they all join in the creativity.

The story and pictures are energetic. The pictures are a comic style (or perhaps magazine), but also highly detailed and precise. It has a somewhat historical feel, with use of exaggeration for emphasis. I love the concept for the story and feel similar about presents and creative tools or toys. One of my favorite things to give for preschool age is Tinker Toys, but I noticed with my own kids that the best way to approach them is together. Parents and/or friends playing together inspires. Sometimes you need an example of what can be made to jumpstart your creativity. Art can be the same, especially for children who have had less time exploring and creating.

related-birthdays, gifts, painting, art
RL=1st-2nd, read aloud

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