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My First Art Book & Easel: Color, Draw, Paint, Create!    by Alex Toys order for
My First Art Book & Easel
by Alex Toys
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Nicely packaged with a pull-out handle, Alex Toys' My First Art Book & Easel includes everything the very young artist needs to create a first portfolio (note that a small parts warning makes this unsuitable for children under 3).

Open it up and find on the left stackable finger crayons, markers and paints (in bright primary colors), a paint brush and a magic wax crayon. On the right is a book, in which three guides - Marker Mouse, Crayon Cow, and Paint Pig - explain how to use the art supplies in a variety of appealing projects. There's a mini easel for display, and perforated edges allow the pages to be easily torn out to give away.

Crayon Cow explains layering with crayons, and challenges small artists to try it on pictures of Lion in the Grass and Spot the Dog, and then to draw a cupcake with 'yummy icing and decorations.' He goes on to cover pressing hard or softly for dark or light results, and talks about the effects obtained by drawing light on dark.

Marker Mouse explains filling in with dots, crosshatching, and drawing Swirls and Whirls, with projects including Doodle a Poodle. Paint Pig explains how to mix paints for new colors and Rainbow Fun, how to fingerpaint Artsy Bugs, splattering, painting on top of crayon drawings, and using a paintbrush to spread marker colors.

Even those with little innate artistic ability (like me) can have fun learning new techniques with My First Art Book & Easel, while young Picassos will unleash their creativity on these cleverly designed projects, and demand many blank pages as well.

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