________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 30. . . .April 4, 2014


I Wish I Could Draw.

Cary Fagan.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood, 2014.
32 pp., hc. & ePub, $16.95 (hc.), $14.95 (ePub).
ISBN 978-1-55498-318-6 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-55498-319-3 (ePub).

Grades 1-3 / Ages 6-8.

Review by Julianne Mutimer.

*** /4



I really, really wish I could draw. But I don’t think I can. I think I stink at drawing. Let me show you. Here is a drawing of me. It doesn’t look like me. Ok, I do have curly hair and I wear glasses. But the rest is no good at all.


internal art     Poor Cary is just like any other kid who really, really, wishes he was good at something- and that something is drawing. Similar to a wide variety of chapter books on the market led by Diary of a Wimpy Kid that incorporate doodles into text, Cary Fagan’s I Wish I Could Draw follows suit in terms of format; however, Fagan’s book is for a slightly younger audience. I Wish I Could Draw is about a young boy named Cary who, at first, thinks he “stinks” at drawing, but, after some experimentation, he realizes that he is actually pretty good at it when he draws things he enjoys, and even better at it when he uses his imagination. Most of all, though, he realizes that being “good” at drawing is not as important as having fun while doing it. Fagan, the author of more than nineteen other children’s books and the recipient of numerous awards and nominations, has created a highly relatable protagonist for his readers in his current work. I Wish I Could Draw is suitable for those children who are beginning to read chapter books (and who are likely also beginning to learn to draw). Told from the first person perspective, the protagonist’s funny and direct manner lends the book a lighthearted and intimate conversational tone. The story is brief and contains a certain amount of repetition for early chapter book readers, but the varying fonts and use of art with text make it slightly more challenging (and fun). Fagan’s doodles are interwoven effectively with the text and have a very child-like quality to them. The quick pace, the humour, the doodles, and the positive message about self-esteem are all perfect for this age group; however, some readers may not find black and white only illustrations all that appealing. Regardless, I Wish I Could Draw is a wonderful title for libraries and schools that can be enjoyed by a child independently or with a parent or caregiver. It is not necessarily the next great piece of literature, but I Wish I Could Draw is certainly an excellent title for the target audience, and it deserves a spot on library shelves.


Julianne Mutimer is a children’s librarian with Surrey Libraries in Surrey, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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