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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

The Cat Post – Drawing & Learning About Cats

Drawing books vary greatly in depth, audience, and text. One of the easiest sets I’ve found for my little ones in elementary is Picture Window Books’ Sketch It! series. Let’s look at Drawing and Learning About Cats: Using Shapes and Lines by Amy Bailey Muehlenhardt. Feel free to go look at the others listed (Bugs, Cars, Cats, Dinosaurs, Dogs, Faces, Fashion, Fish, Horses, Jungle Animals, Monsters, Monster Trucks), but I’m focusing on cats, people!

The Sketch It! series consists of 24 page books with 7 steps on each double-page spread. The page limit focuses drawing upon 8 specific types within each book. 
Cats focuses on:

  • American Shorthair
  • Siamese
  • Burmese
  • Siberian
  • Cornish Rex
  • Persian
  • Turkish Angora
  • Sphynx

Amy Bailey Muehlenhardt utilizes the basics of drawing with simple shapes and lines. I appreciate this book for it’s application to geometry skills and hope teachers are creative in their usage. When I met Amy last summer in Minnesota, she emphasized her belief as stated in the very beginning of this book:

"Everyone Is an Artist. There is no right or wrong way to draw! With a little patience and some practice, anyone can learn to draw."

In many ways Amy has cut through many difficult art techniques to bring sketching to a level where every reader’s fingers itch to try. Amy encourages artists to practice and to stop at whichever step is comfortable for them at their drawing level. There is a big jump between step 6 and 7. How wonderful to have a book where the author suggests you personally decide how deeply you the reader want to delve.

Does this series meet everyone’s needs? Nope. This is a very focused, beginning level drawing book that has been carefully designed for the youngest artist. Would I like the book to be longer? You betcha, but I have seen 5 year olds drawing while looking at books like this. Any art book which can survive 5 checkouts is doing well. Fortunately these are reinforced inside and seem designed to lie flat to withstand the hardest abuse they’ll take.

Meet KitKat. Guess which cat page my KitKat prefers? You’ve got it… the American Shorthair. As a gray tabby cat, she knows some cat experts insist there is no such thing as a tabby cat. As I read the paragraph on the American Shorthair pages, KitKat meowed her agreement. 

"The American Shorthair is one of the most common cats in the world. It’s easy to care for, friendly, and very healthy. Most American Shorthairs are silver with black markings, but they can be many other colors." 

KitKat looked over at Milia and Maxie as if to say, you aren’t mentioned in this book, it’s my turn. Fortunately the text is minimal for beginning readers and KitKat has a cat’s attention span so she left me to finish this post.  

KitKat has been feeling very left out. I wrote a blog post about her, saved it, and read it once online. Then, it disappeared mysteriously. She was not amused, so I am having to resubmit this under her scrutiny. One of the quirks of blogging here is that a simply miskey deletes everything. 

Smart bloggers type in another word processing program, save it as .txt, copy it here, and then tweak it. I must not be a smart blogger because I prefer to work online using the blog tool, tweaking, inserting links & images, and revising live. That means I have to go vent my frustration when blog posts disappear. Why can’t this have a history feature so I could just go back a step like in wikispaces? <sigh> Don’t worry, reader. I am working my frustration out by eating some of the 10 dozen chocolate chunk pecan cookies I baked while watching election returns.