Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Ms. McCaw learns to Draw

Ms. McCaw learns to Draw

Kaethe Zemach
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Scholastic, 2008   ISBN: 978-0439829144

Dudley Ellington has trouble learning things in school. He cannot always concentrate on what he is supposed to be doing and it takes him longer than the other children to understand and to learn new things. Though some of the teachers get fed up with Dudley, Ms. McGraw never does. She is kind to him and takes her time to show him again and again how something works until he understands it for himself. And of course she never makes fun of Dudley.

Ms. McGraw is enormously clever and she teaches her students about all kinds of marvelous things. Her students are convinced that there is nothing that she can’t do. And then, one day, Ms. McGraw admits, to everyone’s amazement, that she cannot draw a face from the side. Her stunned students are speechless. How can this be? Ms. McGraw really doesn’t know how to do something.

Then Dudley Ellington stands up and he offers to show his teacher how it is done. For though Dudley cannot always understand class subjects, Dudley is a pretty good artist. And so Ms. McGraw becomes the student and Dudley Ellington becomes the teacher.

In this delightful picture book readers will get to meet a boy who is a little slower in the classroom but who is a whizz when it comes to drawing. It would seem that everyone has a gift. They will see too that even brilliant Ms.McGraw is not good at everything and even she need to get lessons once in a while. It is grand to see the student becoming the teacher and to see too how good a teacher he is too. Young readers will feel almost compelled to try the Dudley Ellington drawing method for themselves. In no time they, like Ms. McGraw, will be drawing all kinds of wonderful side profile faces of their own.