David Goes To The Museum!

This activity will allow teachers to incorporate lessons in art history and several master artists using a contemporary and popular book.

David is a typical five year old, he doesn't mean to, but always seems to find himself in the middle of mischief. Shannon made the original ‘No, David!” book when he was just 5 years old. When he decided to revisit this book as an adult, what emerged was this timeless idea of the multiple ways moms have of saying "no."

Shannon spent days trying to figure out the right approach to drawing David, but none spoken to him as the drawing he had made. "At first I drew David more realistically, like I draw some of my other books. And it just sat there. It just didn't have any of the charm or energy of the original. So, I went back to the original, and I tried drawing more like a five-year-old. And, all of a sudden, he just jumped off the page and started picking his nose.” ~ David Shannon

Imagine David in a fine art museum. He is observing paintings done by master artists. David, of course, loves to day dream--- would he see himself as Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, or one of Archimboldo's vegetable sculpture? Will things go smoothly, or will he hear, "No, DAVID!" Follow up with the suggested extension activities.

Based on:

David books illustrated by David Shannon


  • Pencils
  • Canvas
  • Acrylic Paints
  • Pictures of iconic paintings from different master artists


Study the famous works of master artists Giuseppe Archimboldo, Leonardo da Vinci, Paul Klee, Pablo Picasso, and Paul Gauguin and then will create acrylic portrait(s) of David Shannon’s character, David, based on their works.

Going About Your Artwork
Students will study the work of a master artist of their choice for inspiration, and will then paint a portrait of David Shannon’s character, David, using the style of their chosen master artist. Depending on which master artist the student chooses, the student’s resulting portrait will contain similar colors, background, and objects as the portrait created by the master artist.

Artist Medium and Painting Selections:

  • David Shannon - Acrylic Paint,
  • Giuseppe Archimboldo - Summer, 1573, Oil Paint,
  • Paul Gauguin - Self Portrait, 1889, Oil on Wood,
  • Paul Klee - Senecio- Head of a Man, 1922, Gauze and Oil Paint,
  • Pablo Picasso - Femme au Beret Rouge, sometime between 1937, Oil on Canvas, and
  • Leonardo da Vinci – Mona Lisa, 1504-1509, Oil Paint on Wood

Extension Activities

  1. Students in higher grades can experiment using the master artist's media of choice to draw their David (Giuseppe Archimboldo - Oil Paint, Leonardo da Vinci - Oil Paint on Wood, Paul Klee - Gauze and Oil Paint, Pablo Picasso - Oil on Canvas, Paul Gauguin - Oil on Wood)
  2. Students will work on their own narrative for David Goes to the Museum. Read various books by David Shannon, and compare three of Shannon's books for similarities. Using Museum as the setting for the story, outline what your museum looks like? Are there rules in the museum? What are they? Will David follow them? What kind of paintings will David see in the museum? You know David never means to cause trouble, it just happens! Will there be an accident of sorts? Will there be an accidental Jackson Pollock painting á la David style? Do you know who Jackson Pollock is? Find more about this American artist. It’s fun to drip, drizzle and splash the paint around. You might want to try some of his action style of painting. Integrating Shannon's pattern of writing, students can formulate their own story using an author's style.