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review 2016-07-03 18:17
The Art of Miss Chew by Patricia Polacco
The Art of Miss Chew - Patricia Polacco

Genre:  School / Drama / Family / Art

Year Published: 2012

Year Read:  2016

Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons



Now, I have been reading many of Patricia Polacco’s books over the years and even though I continued to be mesmerized by her childhood stories, I have always wondered how Patricia Polacco became such a prolific artist, as well as being an effective storyteller. So, when I got around to reading one of Patricia Polacco’s newer books “The Art of Miss Chew,” I finally found out how Patricia Polacco became such a talented artist!

After Trisha spent the summer with her grandmother who was a talented artist, Trisha wanted to become an artist herself. Unfortunately, her school does not have an art class that Trisha could participate in until her Irish teacher Mr. Donovan, suggested that Trisha could join a special art class at the high school that is being taught by none other than Miss Chew! Trisha loved having Miss Chew as her art teacher, as Miss Chew helped Trisha learn the language of art and how she could see the objects she draws in a whole new light. Unfortunately, a tragic day happened when Mr. Donovan’s father passed away and Mr. Donovan had to attend his father’s funeral, leaving his students in the care of a substitute teacher named Mrs. Spaulding. Mrs. Spaulding was often cruel towards Trisha as she would not give Trisha enough time to work on her tests, since Trisha was a much slower learner than the other students; and Mrs. Spaulding even threatened to have Trisha thrown out of Miss Chew’s art class since she believed that the art class was distracting Trisha from her studies.

Can Trisha and Miss Chew convince the student board that Trisha should stay in art class?

Read this book to find out!

What I always loved about Patricia Polacco’s works is that her books allow the readers to take a look at her childhood and be inspired by the various teachers that helped her throughout her school life. I always loved the emotional touches that Patricia Polacco brings to her work as you truly feel her sorrow as she struggles through school due to her learning disability and it was great that she had teachers that really cared about her and try their hardest to help Trisha pass her classes. As soon as I picked up this book, I knew that I was going to automatically fall in love with both Miss Chew and Mr. Donovan! Even though Mr. Donovan’s name was not in the title of this book, I loved the fact that Trisha had another teacher who was supportive of her and the fact that he was from Ireland and loved his father dearly really made me love his character! But let us talk about the true star of this book and that is Miss Chew herself, as she was clearly the one who inspired Trisha to fulfill her lifelong dream to become an artist! I loved the fact that Miss Chew showed Trisha how to look at the objects she draws in a different light and I also loved the way that she continues to encourage Trisha to follow her dreams of becoming an artist no matter how impossible the odds may be. I really loved the fact that both Mr. Donovan and Miss Chew were teachers that came from foreign countries (Mr. Donovan came from Ireland and Miss Chew came from China) as it brought a whole new perspective of the teaching experience for young children. Patricia Polacco’s artwork is magnificent as the characters look so realistic and gorgeous and I loved the fact that we have a book in Patricia Polacco’s works that detailed her inspiration in becoming an artist!

Overall, “The Art of Miss Chew” is a truly beautiful and touching book about the power of art and the importance of supporting students who are struggling in school. I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the length of the book might be a bit difficult for some smaller children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog


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text 2015-07-16 08:49
July Wrap up
Teeth - Hannah Moskowitz
Openly Straight - Bill Konigsberg
Some Assembly Required: The Not-So-Secret Life of a Transgender Teen - Arin Andrews
The Composer Is Dead - Lemony Snicket,Carson Ellis,Nathaniel Stookey
Chew: The Omnivore Edition, Vol. 1 - John Layman,Rob Guillory
Chew: The Omnivore Edition, Vol. 2 - John Layman,Rob Guillory
Chew: The Omnivore Edition, Vol. 3 - John Layman,Rob Guillory
CHEW OMNIVORE EDITION VOL 4 (Chew the Omnivore Edition) - John Layman,Rob Guillory
Through the Woods - Emily Carroll

Read more
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review 2013-06-06 00:00
Review of "Ask Wendy" by Wendy Williams
Ask Wendy - Wendy Williams

I don't usually go in for advice books--or non-fiction books period--but I decided to give this book a shot since I got it for free at a taping of The Chew (airing 6/7/13), so i figured i had nothing to lose. Like a lot of others have said, I don't agree with everything that Ms. Williams has to say, but i like the way she said it. This was a very fast read--maybe 1.5 hours--and it doesn't make you feel like you're a piece of crap while you're reading it. There may be instances when she calls out the person who wrote to her for advice for doing stupid things, but she never makes it seem as if she thinks that the person writing to her is stupid, which can be hard to do.


What I liked about this the most was that it really felt like i was reading one long magazine article. The down to earth, tell it like it is style feels like it is right out of Cosmo or Redbook and that makes it very easy to read.

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review 2013-01-27 00:00
Chew Chew the Food Chain Train
Chew Chew the Food Chain Train - Janet Michelson Chew Chew the food chain train by Janet Michelson
Illustrated colorful children's book showing the day the kids go with their grandparents for a meal. The kids want fries and chicken nuggets and the adults want fruits and vegetables.
At the beginning of the book it gives you ideas on how make gardens and eat healthy.
They ended up at the chew chew train restaurant. The train delivered plates and silverware and told them to help themselves to the banquet. It had all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables that they could choose from.
Shows many choices of what they want, salad and berries.
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review 2012-07-18 00:00
The Art of Miss Chew - Patricia Polacco This is a good solid story about giving a girl a chance to realize her potential and overcome obstacles. Polacco had a reading learning disability in the 60's and ran into trouble getting support for it at one point. There also was no art instruction available in her middle school at all. How things have changed! Even with a depletion in money for the arts, I don't know any middle school that doesn't even have a very basic art curriculum.

The illustrations are happy and Polacco does a good job of relaying the feelings of the characters through their expressions. I don't think she is as good with body language but it's not too bad.

But there are a lot of things I found not as good about this book. First of all, I don't like how black and white it is. Two good teachers were amazing and always encouraged her and even when they did something wrong it was still great. For example, the art teacher called her Theresa from day one and never stopped. Most people would have a problem with this, especially an adolescent, but Polacco remembers this fondly.

The bad teacher, is horrible, evil even, because she is elderly and from a very different educational era and doesn't understand learning disabilities and how to accomodate them. There is no acknowledgement of this. In fact, at one point Polacco says that in a school meeting the woman scoffed and then proceeded to read an awful lot into that one noise, saying "as if she" and "maybe even." That feels very vindictive to me. This woman is so punished she is sent out of the school and never able to even be a substitute there again for any class. (How would Polacco, a middle-schooler, know that?)

I'm also not as fond of Polacco's illustrations as others are. I think they are competent but I am not overwhelmed. I don't like that she sketches them out first and then watercolors them in. This is just a style thing but I think she makes too many sketch strokes so it looks messy.

I also think her perspective is off. At one point the art teacher and the girl are in front of an easel and both, including their feet, are at such an angle they look like they are falling over. In another place, a person's body parts aren't in proportion and the angles of the people in the picture don't mesh with the furniture and with gravity. There were hands that were just not drawn well too.

I feel she just hurried it along like she had a deadline to meet. She is obviously capable. The flyleaves have examples of her drawings that are much more competent although nothing strikes me as particularly more advanced than a really good art 101 student.

So, 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 because of the black and white thinking.
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