Having "Ish"

A Review of "Ish" by Peter Reynolds

Ramon loves to draw. He draws anytime and anywhere. When his older brother mocks one of his pictures and critiques its unrealistic nature, Ramon crumples up his drawings along with his spirit. Feeling defeated and dejected, Ramon’s little sister shows her gallery of his artwork. The discarded pictures are hung proudly on her wall. Still downtrodden, Ramon points out that his pictures don’t resemble the real thing. The vase, after all, should look like a vase. The wise little girl says that his artwork looks “vase-ISH” and introduces her older brother to the possibilities of “ISH.” Rejuvenated and inspired, Ramon produces his “ISH” works: “tree-ish,” “afternoon-ish,” “silly-ish.” So, the little boy, once deflated, is now full of “art-ISH-tic” zeal.

The use of watercolors, ink, and tea paints add softness to the endearing tale. The illustration is simple but accompanies the tale perfectly. Not only is this story such a tribute to creativity and imagination. As an artist and art teacher, I’ve heard countless of self-deflating utterances. But in my years of experience, the greatest masterpiece is seeing a child realize that he is an artist and there is no limit to what he can create. It is also an inspirational tale for all children whose passions were squashed by a rude remark or a callous comment. It is a commendable example of how one could be a source of inspiration. You don’t have to be perfect to have “ISH.”