Sonderbooks Book Review of

The Art of Miss Chew

by Patricia Polacco

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The Art of Miss Chew

by Patricia Polacco

Review posted September 2, 2012.
G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2012. 42 pages.
Starred Review
2012 Sonderbooks Stand-out: #10 Picture Books

Patricia Polacco tells a personal story here about the art teacher who got her started as an artist.

It begins with another teacher, Mr. Donovan, who noticed that if he gave Patricia extra time, she could pass her tests with no trouble. He also sees that she's a natural artist, and helps her get in with the high school art teacher, Miss Chew.

Miss Chew taught Patricia how to paint and how to see. She noticed that Patricia was seeing patterns instead of letters and got her in with a reading specialist. But especially, she valued Patricia's art and gave her a featured place in the art show, the only non-high school student in the show.

This book is best read to be appreciated. I've long loved Patricia Polacco's art, but the paintings in this book feel more warm and loving than ever. In the paintings themselves, you can clearly see how deeply grateful she still feels toward those two remarkable teachers. There's also a sparkle in the pictures of young Trisha as she discovers true joy in making art.

A remarkable and memorable book.