In my opinion Ish is about accepting who are you (or what you draw,write,or do), creativity and art. The main character of this smaller sized picture book is Ramon. He loved to draw, "Anytime. Anything. Anywhere." That is until Leon, his older brother teased him about a vase of flowers he was drawing. Ramon was so upset that he crumbled his picture up. Ramon kept trying to make his drawings look "right" but they never did. He crumbled up many drawings before throwing in the towel. That is when his darling little sister, Marisol, showed up. After some conversation Marisol picked up the most recent crumbled sheet of paper and ran away with it. Ramon chased her into her room where he found walls full of his crumbled artwork. She pointed out her favorite piece which was the drawing of the vase of flowers. When her brother responded by saying it didn't even look like one, Marisol said "Well, it looks vase-ISH". Ramon began drawing again with much excitement. He drew many ish things, his ish art even inspired him to write ish poetry. Ramon started to look at the world in a new way.
The illustrations are simple, and kind of remind me of the Charlie Brown characters but with even less detail. The ink-written words look childlike and fit in perfectly with the watercolor illustrations.
I think this book should be shared with all children. Children can spend so much time trying to make things perfect and just right that they end up missing out on the real purpose and beauty of whatever they are doing. Imperfection is what makes us human, and it can be a delightful and enjoyable thing.
I can't wait to share this book with my family, and future students alike. Ish is dedicated by the author to his art teacher, who dared him to draw for himself and find his voice. I hope to inspire this kind of individuality in all of the children in my life.
By the way, Peter Reynolds, the author of this fantastic book, also has written another book titled The Dot (2003), that I will be getting in the mail soon, about various ways that art can be defined. Hopefully you will check out both of these books!