We have a fun new children's picture book about art and creativity. Willow, written by Denise Brennan-Nelson and Rosemarie Brennan, and illustrated by Cyd Moore, is new to us (I bought it for Maia's birthday.), but not new to the world (It was published in 2008.). It's about an imaginative and kind young artist named Willow and her influence upon her art teacher and her class.
Miss Hawthorn, the art teacher, is pinch-faced and narrow-minded. She expects her students' drawings and paintings to match the examples she hangs at the front of the class. While most of the students comply by drawing regulation green trees and red apples that look alike, Willow drives her crazy with pink trees, blue apples, and snow-ladies.
But... Before winter vacation, Willow gives Miss Hawthorn a gift -- her favorite art book. And Miss Hawthorn is inspired to get out her art supplies and doodle. Her inhibitions fall away and her creativity is unleashed (Look at how she is depicted in the pages above compared with the pages below...).
When Willow and the other students return from winter vacation, they are dumbfounded by the transformation of their teacher and their classroom. Creativity was now encouraged and "This time, everyone painted just the way they wanted..."
Of course I love this book. How could I not? I love the messages about imagination and creativity in art, love the example that Willow provides to her classmates and teacher, and love the idea of Miss Hawthorn pulling a 180 and changing from a strict art-hating teacher to one who embraced her own creativity and that of her students.
Have you read Willow? If not, I recommend it, especially for early school-aged kids (as well as their parents and teachers).