• When Stan Berenstain, co-creator with Jan, his wife, of the Berenstain Bears books, was a small child, he went into a room that had been newly wallpapered. Even at his young age, he knew that he enjoyed drawing, and facing a wall in desperate need of decorating and armed with a red crayon in his hand, he went to work. Unfortunately, the adults in the house were not appreciative of his decorating efforts, and since it was a time that not only allowed but also encouraged spanking, he ended up suffering for his art.
• After publishing his children’s book And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, Dr. Seuss presented a program for 300 third-graders at Higbee’s Department Store in Cleveland, Ohio. As part of the presentation, he drew several pictures. Unfortunately, the children did not respond to the drawings. Dr. Seuss asked, “Don’t you like my drawing?” The children honestly replied, “No — Gus can draw better.” Dr. Seuss invited Gus onto the stage to draw a picture — and yes, Gus did draw better than Dr. Seuss.
• Ezra Jack Keats once created a children’s picture-book titled Pet Show! about a child who took a germ to enter in a pet show. Tori Bond of Shaker Heights, Ohio, read the book, and she decided to enter a pet show in which no cats or dogs were allowed. (Her “real” pet was a cat.) Therefore, she coughed in a jar and named her pet germ Ralph. In a letter to Mr. Keats, she wrote, “I won first prize for most unusual pet. A doctor told me that Ralph eats cells.”
• Navaho artist R.C. “Rudy” Gorman was born prematurely. Because he was small and weak, his physician put him in an incubator to keep him warm and help him grow stronger. However, when his great-grandmother, a full-blooded Navajo, saw him in the incubator, she screamed, “Those crazy white people are killing your child!” She took Rudy away, fed him milk mixed with coffee, and soon the future artist grew big and strong without the incubator.
• When photographer Margaret Bourke-White was a little girl, she decided to attract some attention at her school, so she wrapped two pet snakes around her arms and took the snakes to school. The snakes created quite a sensation, especially a harmless puff adder that puffed out its neck and hissed at the children. Young Margaret had fun, but the principal told her not to bring snakes to school anymore.
• German artist Käthe Kollwitz once drew a portrait of herself and Peter, her seven-year-old son. The pose necessitated that she hold her son while drawing with one hand for long periods of time. This sometimes made her groan, but Peter would tell her, “Don’t worry, Mother. It will be beautiful.” In fact, the finished work of art is beautiful.
• Renaissance painter Giotto di Bondone created beautiful works of art, but he was ugly and his children were ugly. When Dante, author of The Divine Comedy, asked about this paradox, Giotto replied that his children were produced in the dark of night while his works of art were created in the light of day.
• One of American Impressionist Mary Cassatt’s young nephews grew tired of posing for her, so he spat in her face. The boy’s mother punished him by locking him in a closet, but Ms. Cassatt bought him some chocolates.
• Trevor Mark Sage-EL has a white mother and a black father. He is very creative, and when his teacher asked him to draw a self-portrait at school, he drew a yin-yang symbol, which is half-black and half-white.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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