Written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
32 pages  •  Published 2004 (Candlewick Press)
Book cover
Recommended Age Range: Kindergarten through 2nd grade.
Publisher's Summary: Drawing is what Ramon does. It’s what makes him happy. But in one split second, all that changes. A single reckless remark by Ramon’s older brother, Leon, turns Ramon’s carefree sketches into joyless struggles. Luckily for Ramon, though, his little sister, Marisol, sees the world differently. She opens his eyes to something a lot more valuable than getting things just “right.”
Book cover

Dr. Annie's Takeaways

Recommended for: This story is an excellent read for a child who gets stuck on a creation needing to be perfect. It encourages children to create (i.e., draw, write) without focusing on getting something “right” by showing the value of imperfection (“ish”). It can also start a conversation about how the exact same creation can be criticized by one person and loved by another, so one shouldn’t put too much weight in someone’s negative opinion.
Would a child like it? Many children would really enjoy this book. It’s fun to see Ramon’s “ish drawings,” “ish feelings,” and “ish writing,” and it frees children up to create without comparing themselves to an unattainable standard of perfection.
Evidence-Based Practices: Cognitive Restructuring
Tone: Emotionally rich, hopeful
Story Quality: This is such a lovely story about how imperfection (“ish”) can actually be better than perfection. It’s also a story about sibling relationships and creativity. It’s well-written and sweet.
Illustrations: Fun, scribbly “ish”-like drawings mostly in black, brown, and white with smudges of color reflecting Ramon’s feelings (red for anger, blue-gray for sadness, yellow for hope).
Representation: Ramon is a boy, and he has an older brother, Leon, and a younger sister, Marisol. The siblings all have light brown skin and dark brown, curly hair. Based on their names and skin color, they are likely Latinx or Afro-Latinx. Ramon loves to draw and write poetry.
Psychological Practices: After Ramon’s older brother makes fun of a drawing Ramon made, Ramon starts doubting himself, and he gets fixated on his drawings looking “right,” which of course “they never did.” After Roman’s younger sister says that she likes the “ish” quality of Ramon’s drawings, he is freed up to draw and write in an imperfect way, which renews his love of creating. This story encourages a child to embrace imperfection as an asset, as well as to recognize that one person’s negative opinion doesn’t have to change the way they feel or act.
Concerns: None

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