Ben Draws Trouble by Matt Davies Book Review

Ben Draws Trouble by Matt Davies
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Release Date: April 7, 2015

More than anything, Ben loves to draw. He draws boats, bicycles, sharks, and spaceships. Mostly though, he likes to draw people. Things turn upside down when Ben loses his sketchbook at school. The reaction is not what he expects though. Instead of berating him, he is introduced to the world of theater where his art can be appreciated and a much grander scale.

In the beginning I thought this story was going to be a picture book version of Harriet the Spy. Lose your journal in which you have drawn some unsavory pictures of your teacher and classmates and learn a lesson about not leaving a journal laying about and being nice behind people's backs. What I loved was the theater twist in which a good teacher sees Ben's talent and rather than chastising it, channels it into something productive. She gives Ben's art purpose. It's the simple and yet it felt so incredibly unexpected and complex, that I read through the book twice.

I think kids and adults are going to love this one, but more importantly, I want more parents and teachers to see creative potential and to encourage it rather than squash it. This seems like a no brainer, but I think that when you see hundreds of kids a day, a person can get bogged down in the minutia and not see the individual talents of the kids they are working with. Same for the parents. Let's show kids that their abilities, even if they do not feel like a "talent", can be channeled into something useful and important.