Artsy Animals is a series of beginning drawing workbooks that combine drawing with science, reading, history, vocabulary development, and more. This one, Artsy Animals Learn to Read, has the alphabet as its theme. Two pages are devoted to each letter, with an animal on each page. Students learn to draw the animal step by step with ovals and lines. They’ll also read interesting facts about the animals, enjoy some black-and-white photos, and learn basic drawing terms and techniques. The simple, large text is fun for beginning readers: “Draw an ibex eating Tex Mex.” And on top of that, the text is also translated into Spanish, so students can pick up some Spanish words too! Most pages have advanced drawing assignments as well. Drawings are more cartoonlike than lifelike, which may appeal more to younger artists. I find the drawing quality to be inconsistent; some of the illustrations are a bit amateurish, and some of the drawings look like photocopies of polished illustrations.

Included with the book is a CD-ROM that contains an additional set of two pages per letter to be printed from your computer, so you’re really getting two entire workbooks. These workbooks are much more educational, interesting, and fun than your typical drugstore activity book. They would be handy for rainy days, car trips, or waiting rooms. They will stretch to fit a wide age range; I’d say the target age is 6-12. Stock your schoolroom with them!

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