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The Art Lesson facts for kids

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The Art Lesson
first edition
Author Tomie DePaola
Cover artist Tomie DePaola
Language English
Genre Children's Fiction
Publisher Trumpet Publishing
Publication date
Media type Print

The Art Lesson is a 1989 children's picture book by Tomie DePaola. The book was published by Trumpet Publishing and deals with the theme of compromise. The Art Lesson was met with a positive reception by critics and was one of the New York Times's "Best Picture Books Of the Year for Children" in 1989.


The Art Lesson is semi-autobiographical, following the character of Tommy, an enthusiastic painter and drawer. He makes pictures for his relatives and draws on the sidewalk, on bedsheets, and even on walls. For his birthday he gets a box of 64 crayons. But his new first-grade teacher rejects them, and makes him draw the same thing as everybody else in his class, with a few school crayons and on a single sheet of paper. He makes a bargain with the school Art Teacher: one page for the drawing that the rest of his class is making, with school crayons, and the second for his own crayons and his own art.

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