Written and Illustrated by:Peter Reynolds

Before Reading

Preview and Predict

Take time before your read-through to look over the cover as well as the illustrations throughout the book. Ask your child about the illustrations by asking:

What do you see on the cover?

What is the little boy holding on the front cover? Why do you think he is holding it?

What do you think the story will be about?

[Flip to a certain page] What do you think he is drawing in this picture?

[Flip to another page] Who do you think that little girl is with the boy?


Fun With Ish:

While “Ish” isn’t a real word on its own, it can be used to complete other words and in this particular story, it is used to describe drawings that don’t look exactly like the thing they are modeled after. You can help your child think of real words that include this word by asking, “Can you think of words that end in ‘ish’?” You can give the example of the word “fish” to help your child get started. Other examples include wish, squish, and dish.

As You Read

Build Vocabulary

Encourage your child to pause when s/he encounters an unknown word. Allow your child to discover its meaning by using the illustrations and words around it. Examples of potential new words in Ish include:



Monitor Comprehension

As you go through the story, ask questions that allow your child to make connections between the story and his/her own experiences. For example, when Ramon’s brother Leon laughs at Ramon’s artwork, ask your child questions like:

Can you think of a time when someone teased you for something that you liked to

How did that make you feel?

What did you do when it happened?

What do you think Ramon will do?

After Reading

Make Connections

Be sure to ask your child questions at the end of the book to ensure comprehension of the story. Ask questions like:

What was your favorite part of the story? Why?

Why did Ramon stop drawing in the story?

How did Ramon’s brother make him feel when he made fun of his artwork?

What does Marisol mean when she says that his picture looks “vase-ISH”?

How does Marisol help Ramon to draw again?

How does Ramon feel at the end of the story? How can you tell?

This story has an meaningful message that teaches children that as long as they are
expressing themselves, it doesn’t have to be perfect. You can get this message across by asking your child about things they they have done that are ish. Ask, “Can you think of a time when you drew something that was ish like Ramon? What were you drawing? Do you think it was good even though it didn’t look exactly like the thing you were drawing?” You can also ask your child questions that encourage him/her to consider the feelings of others and how words can affect other people by asking, “Can you think of a time when you did what Marisol did and told someone you liked something they did? How do you think it made your friend feel? How do you think they would have felt if you had laughed at your friend?

Extending the Story

Make Your Own Ish Drawing

Supplies:Paper and whatever your child loves to draw with, such as colored pencils, crayons, watercolors, or markers.


You can start this activity by looking up a painting like Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night and asking, “What does this look like to you?” A painting like this one isn’t a perfect representation of the sky but it is “sky-ish” and still considered an incredible piece of artwork. This will show your child that even in the real world, there are paintings that aren’t perfect replicas of the real object or scene that are still appreciated. Tell your child, “Even though this doesn’t look exactly like the real sky, it is still a great painting. Now it’s your turn to make an ish drawing just like Ramon!”

Encourage your child to think “ish-ly” and draw whatever they want. Perhaps your child would like to draw one of the pictures that Ramon drew in the story, like his vase with flowers. Remind your child that s/he can draw anything at all and that Ramon even drew a trash can in the story...a work of art!