For my memory that ties into today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review, you’ll be traveling back with me five years to an art store in an unnamed town, in a state that shall remain nameless to conceal the identity of my irksome shopping companion.
But first… a necessary fact for the story: I have loved to create art since I could hold a paintbrush.
I credit much of my passion for art to my mom who was a scientific illustrator for the Field Museum in Chicago. The moment I showed an interest in drawing, Mom taught me how to hold a pencil, how to angle it to thicken the lines, how to alter my pressure to change the intensity. I branched out from painting and drawing to sculpting and printmaking and photography. I have a small room set aside just for art that is draped and stuffed with folded fabrics, pans of paint, ceramic jars of brushes, stacks of art books, and one comfy chair by the window for dreaming.
Let’s return to the art store in that unnamed town, in a state that shall remain nameless…
While out on a walk, I noticed a quaint art store. The colorful window display seemed to whisper, “Leslieeeeeeeee, come inside. We have many, pretty art supplies…” I crossed the street with my disinterested companion and stepped inside the magical (to me) store. Sheets of marbled papers lay lose upon a table, showing off their colors and patterns like the fanned tail of a peacock. Paintbrushes and pads of watercolor paper full of promise beckoned to me. I didn’t have the money for much, but I did have enough to bring home a few irresistible treasures. I carried my items toward the cash register and dreamed about the next piece of art I would create. Soon, my shopping companion came over, looked at the items I held, and said in a cold tone…
“What do you need that stuff for?”
I explained about the imaginative art I hoped to create and received this comment…
“What are you going to do with it when you’re done? It’ll just clutter up your place.”
I looked at the items I had treasured a moment earlier. Suddenly, they no longer brought me happiness. If I bought them, each time I held them, they would remind me of this moment. I put back the watercolor block, the paintbrush with bunny-soft bristles, and the small spool of blue, silk ribbon, and left the store. When my companion expressed great pleasure that I hadn’t wasted my money. Something broke inside of me.
A long time passed before I picked up my favorite paintbrush again. That day I experienced a jolt of pure joy and decided no one would ever steal happiness from me again.
Time for the picture book review I promised you.
Title – The Room of Wonders
Written and illustrated by – Sergio Ruzzier
Published by – Francis Foster Books – Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, New York 2006
Suitable for ages – 3-7
Topics/Theme – collections, confidence, and inner happiness.
Opening – Pius Pelosi was a packrat, and he collected things. On long walks through the forest, he found twisted roots, interesting twigs, leaves, feathers, and sometimes a skin left behind by a snake.
Amazon Review – Pius Pelosi, a young pack rat, is a born collector who fills a
room with his marvelous findings, attracting curious visitors. His very favorite item, a plain gray pebble, is given a place of honor, which baffles everyone. They all ask why he would keep such an ordinary stone. Bowing to public opinion, Pius gets rid of it, but in doing so, he discovers he’s lost much more than just the pebble.
Why do I like this book? At the moment when Pius, the main character, hears the harsh words against his most prized treasure and throws out his entire collection, no one cheered louder during the story’s applause-worthy climax than me. I hope that children, listening to this story, will learn the value of standing up for what they love, believe in, or treasure. Hopefully, they will never allow the negative opinions of others to overshadow their precious feelings.
Learn about Sergio Ruzzier HERE.
I’m adding something new to my blog this Monday. I hope you’ll follow along to find out what it is.