Tiny Art Director: a funny book

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People who don't have children sometimes complain that kids are narcissistic, sociopathic little terrors. But any parent will tell you that is an unfair assessment. They are also messy, noisy, whining, and germy.

That's why, as a parent, I loved Tiny Art Director, a new book by artist Bill Zeman. Based on Zeman's funny blog of the same name, Tiny Art Director contains images that Zeman's (now five-year-old) daughter Rosie asked him to paint. Rosie's briefs are hilarious: "A sick crocodile." "A bone dinosaur eating a baby." "A cat killing a rat." "A dragon sneaking up on a girl. She's picking flowers." Each image includes commentary from Rosie (aka, the tiny art director) that reveals her to be as fussy, capricious, self-contradictory, and bossy as many grown up art directors I know. (Click on the example above for a closer look at Rosie's style of criticism.)

Tiny-Art-Director Tiny-Jane

My wife, my two daughters, and I read the book last night and we laughed on almost every page. Jane, my six-year-old especially likes the book because she thinks Rosie (left) looks like her (right). In fact, my wife and 12-year-old daughter thought I had somehow put Jane's photo in the book and was pulling a trick on them.

What I loved about this book is learning about the extraordinary relationship between Rosie and Zeman. Rosie is a harsh critic, but it's clear that she and her dad are having a terrific time together. I hope they put out a sequel soon!

Tiny Art Director


  1. Funny great idea. Wished the critiques were in her own handwriting, but I realize it was a spoken review. Back to the bullpen, Dad.

    1. Oh my god! Axe Cop is the greatest thing I’ve seen on the internet in a long time. Absolutely brilliant, and deserves its own Boing Boing post!

  2. The website has been boinged before, but now that the book is out, it certainly deserves to be in the spotlight again. It is hilarious and oh so cute. =D

  3. I’ve just ordered it and it’ll be here Friday. Boing Boing has been fantastic in children’s book recommendations. My son loves The Red Ripe Strawberry, Hand Hand Fingers Thumb, The Monster at the End of This Book, as well as a few others. On top of that BB is where we first heard of Yo Gabba Gabba long ago too. So with the fine track record I did not hesitate ordering Tiny Art Director. I’m looking forward to Friday more that usual now.

  4. Okay. Buying Tiny Art Director.

    And Axe Cop? Holy crap! A friggin’ masterpiece! I mean:

    “Suddenly Uni-Man grew horns all over his body (even his bottom and down where he pees).”

    Quite possibly the greatest thing Ive ever read.

  5. Oh, man, this was totally my son when he was that age. We still have his Batman book we made – he told us what to draw (unfortunately, my wife and I have non drawing talent), then he’d provide copy we’d dutifully wrote down word-for-word. He’s almost 20 now, and it was a lot of fun when we found it a few months back and read it.

  6. ditto on axecop. found him on facebook and it is insane in its nostalgic awesomeness. I miss my brothers.

  7. Holy cow, thanks for linking axecop. I had never heard of it and after reading a few pages i have to say that it is the most brilliant and hilarious comic ever created.

  8. As cute as this is I can imagine this little girl will grow into a holy terror in her teens.
    Hopefully not.

    1. In that way this book is a rather clever ploy, when she is a terror as a teen all the parents need to do is hold up a copy of this book and go “Honey, do we need to write another book?”

      Clever parents.

      (Honestly though, she’ll probably hate this as a teen but at thirty or forty cherish the fact that she had such awesome parents more than anything. (Or parent? I don’t know. Eitherway.))

    2. I don’t think so! Well, at least not more of a terror than any teen is. Kids are always bossy, and have no problem telling you what they think. In many ways that’s the best attribute of them, they don’t hold critical thoughts back and yet have no malice when communicating them. Ie, if they think something sucks, they tell you, but they don’t mean anything beyond that.

      I’ve met a few adults that managed to hold on to that, and it’s pretty refreshing. Sure, it’s difficult to deal with at first, but once you adjust it’s nice.

  9. Terrific premise for a kid’s book! I Look forward to reading it.

    And as far as that toddler art director with her changing whims and out-there honesty, I’ve met her in many an art director’s office.

  10. Not to take away from T.A.D.’s limelight because it is awesome… but… OMFG AXECOPPP!!!1!11

  11. In many ways that’s the best attribute of them, they don’t hold critical thoughts back and yet have no malice when communicating them. Ie, if they think something sucks, they tell you, but they don’t mean anything beyond that.

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