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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Willow and the Dreaded Art Teacher

The title is really simply WILLOW by Denise Brennan-Nelson and Rosemarie Brennan with illustrations by Cyd Moore. Sleeping Bear Press, 2008. ISBN: 978-1-58536-342-1 $16.95 
I had a narrow escape with this book today. Beloved guest blogger and art teacher Julie was looking at Willow with me during my workshop when I suddenly remembered how much I LOVE this book and I was afraid she’d ask me if she could keep it. I can’t help it, if she’d asked me, I would have HAD to give her this book. But, I love it. I discovered tonight how much I enjoyed even the end pages. Every time I read it, I discover something new. Aha! There’s an illuminated letter. Wow! Look at those colors that would make David Catrow smile.

Yes, reader, you are right. Julie could use this book in all her art classes and it would be a hit. In fact, this might go in the permanent substitute file in the office as one of the spare lesson plans to always have on hand for the art program. No? You’re right,  you want to make sure it’s read, not left to chance. 

Julie deserves this book because she understands all the art references in it. But then, I could have students research and find out to what all those references refer. Besides the art teacher looks more like me than Julie. At least when she is pretty she looks more like me. Not when she is wearing dark clothes, has her hair tight in a bun, and has "moods… as dark as her clothing." Nope, I never let any of you see my hair in a bun, that’s my weekend only disguise. Although…, Miss Hawthorn does mutter "Horrid little girl" with such feeling, that I think I could dramatically pretend to be her.

Julie and I discussed the dreaded art teacher in this book who insists that everyone draw exactly as she wishes and to keep the art room tidy and neat. Julie is quite beautiful and not at all mean. So I asked her, "Have you ever seen an art teacher as mean and dreadful as this?" 

Julie said she has many art teacher friends and NONE of them are like that, but she has heard of one or two like this from "friends & family." Are there really dreaded art teachers out there? Or is this a school version urban legend?

In the meantime, I’m going to curl up and re-read this book again before Julie remembers and calls for it. Thank you, Cyd Moore for the great illustrations. I hope to see many more Moore books soon.


  1. Lindsay says:

    Cyd Moore has illustrated many books. Check out I LOVE YOU, STINKY FACE series and THE MOST THANKFUL THING. You’ll love them!