Emberley’s Drawing Book of Animals

When I was visiting with my family over the holidays, I sat with my 4-year-old nephew and tried to show him how to draw a dragon. Suddenly, I had this strong memory of my favorite drawing book when I was a wee lass — a book that showed me how to create all sorts of animals out of basic shapes.

That book was Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Animals, and I loved it beyond reason.

But I didn’t have that book when I was with my nephew, and the dragon that I hobbled together out of rectangles, triangles, and circles was a true abomination. Fortunately, my audience was four years old, and he happily tried to recreate it again and again. I vowed silently that I’d send him a copy of Ed Emberley’s book as soon as I got home.

And… it’s still sitting here next to me. Last night, I drew a birdie and a fox and an owl. I have an envelope all labeled and ready, but I can’t seem to put the book inside and seal it up. (I did put the book inside once, and immediately pulled it back out again.)

It’s more than just a drawing book, I think, more than just a powerful piece of nostalgia. I think the idea of making complex objects out of simple ones rocked my world. I think it still kinda does.

But mostly, I think I need to buy my nephew his own copy.


Christine Ashworth 7 years ago .

He's got several drawing books out – Tom bought them all I think and tried to get the kids to use them when they were little. They did use them for a while, and Tim still goes back and references them when he's drawing something.

And yes, absolutely you should get your nephew his own book, lol! You NEED yours!

Cheers, dear!

    Jenn Reese 7 years ago .

    Wow, the books even got Tom’s stamp of approval — I’m impressed! And you are so right — I’m totally keeping this one for myself. :-D

Karen 7 years ago .

I dug up my own beloved, falling-apart copy and gave it to Jeremiah when he was four-ish, and he loved it too. Ed Emberly RULES. It is flat-out magical to follow instructions with a bunch of circles, rectangles, and triangles, add a few dots, and discover that you've drawn a stylish animal!

    Jenn Reese 7 years ago .

    I was amazed at exactly how stylish the animals are — they all have panache! Also, good to know that 4 is a good age to be indoctrinated. Muahahahaha!

Deva Fagan 7 years ago .

Wow, that brings back memories! I had a copy of that as a kid too, but I had completely forgotten about it. I just reserved a copy on ILL for my nostalgia!

Thank you for the reminder!

    Jenn Reese 7 years ago .

    If you draw anything, you have to post it! At least on Twitter. :-D

ED EMBERLEY 7 years ago .

What fun reading your reactions over the years

guess I will have to take my own work more seriously.


    Jenn Reese 7 years ago .

    Hi Ed! (I am trying very hard not to do a fangirl squee right now.)

    Maybe the fact that you don't take it too seriously is why we all love your work so much. :)

    My nephew should be getting his copy today — the circle (and square and triangle) of life continues!

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