I was sure my children would love the graphic novel style of The Drawing Lesson. They read it, and enjoyed it. But my 10 year old daughter said it didn't really have lessons in it. She expected the step-by-step drawing lessons she has seen in most children's drawing books. Instead, The Drawing Lesson gives tips for improving your drawing, in the form of a story of a boy learning from an artist he meets in the park.
Now that my children have taken an art class, they've heard these same drawing tips from their art teacher. Suddenly, the book has more meaning to them and they can see that the lessons are actually important for improving their ability to draw what they see. Now, when they read the book, they understand the lessons on white space better. This book reinforces what they're trying to understand in their art class.
Do not expect a step-by-step "draw a cat" lesson in The Drawing Lesson. The book is very helpful in teaching children how to look carefully at what they see, and draw what they see. My favorite part of the book actually happens on page 15, when the artist states that seeing what is wrong with your picture is 90% of the battle. Seeing what's wrong and being willing to erase it and fix it is key to improving as an artist. My children need that reminder because they look at a picture, see what's wrong, and then think they are bad artists. I've used this line to encourage them since reading the book.
The ONE thing I don't like about this book is the way the artist sometimes yells at David, the student. I realize it's probably for humor, or hyperbole, but it bothers me. That is the only thing I'd change about the book. Otherwise, it's a winner in our house.