The Old Man Mad About Drawing by Francois Place


The Old Man is the famous Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai who lived from 1760-1849 in the Edo Period. The “voice” is that of a young rice ball seller Tojiro who goes to live with the artist as an apprentice. The book was written in the late 1950’s but translated from the French by William Rodarmor and republished a few years ago. Place did most of the small drawings in the style of Hokusai and there are double page spreads of some of his more famous prints and paintings, such as the huge way about to engulf a couple small fishing boats with Mt. Fuji in the background. It appeared in his book Thirty-Six Views of Mt. Fuji. In the book, I learned that manga means “thought up drawings.” Hokusai was a master printer and the inventor of manga. Tojiro tells us a series of stories about his tutorials and wanderings with Hokusai while showing us how Japanese ink is made, how wood block printing works, and what a Shinto temple is like. The book is only 106 pages but I lingered over the lovely illustrations. I think it would appeal to boys or girls of an artistic nature and who like things Japanese. Anime and manga are so popular with tweens. I think about 11-13 year olds would appreciate the book and art.

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About KLevenson

I am Teacher Librarian at Piedmont High School in the San Francisco East Bay. I am a part time reference Librarian I for the San Francisco Public Library. I have a Masters in Library and Information Sciences from San Jose State and a Teacher Librarian credential in addition to my teaching credential in Science. My first MA was from Harvard in Archaeology. My students teach me something new every time I am with them!
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