BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Blog Tour Giveaway & Group Review of A Child's Introduction to Art by Heather Alexander & Illustrated by Meredith Hamilton

Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal
Series: Child's Introduction
Format Read: Hardcover
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: May 20, 2014
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | Barnes & Noble
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

The newest volume in Black Dog's best-selling, award-winning Child's Introduction series explores the fascinating world of art and artists and includes do-it-yourself art projects throughout.

In the tradition of Black Dog's best-selling Child's Introduction books, which include The Story of the Orchestra and A Child's Introduction to the Night Sky, A Child's Introduction to Art introduces kids ages 9 through 12 to the art world's most famous painters, styles, and periods, all brought to life through full-color photographs of 40 masterpieces, as well as charming original illustrations.

The book highlights 40 painters and sculptors, including Leonardo da Vinci, Claude Monet, Diego Velasquez, Vincent van Gogh, Salvador Dali, Mary Cassatt, and Andy Warhol, providing information on their life, inspirations, influences, technique, and a full-color photo of one of their signature works of art. It also includes an overview of various styles and periods (Renaissance, Impressionism, Cubism, etc.), instruction on how to view and appreciate art, and information on the color wheel and other tools artists employ.

Fun art projects throughout, such as Can You Find It?, Q-tip pointillism, making a stained-glass window with tissue paper, and Spatter Paint like Pollock, allow kids to learn about painting techniques and explore their own artistic abilities. Also includes five masterpiece paintings to color.

Meredith Hamilton's witty illustrations add another dimension to the excellent text and photographs.

This book appealed to both Jax and I and we asked if we could do a dual review. Then Jax's daughter got her hands on the book and we had to include her too. Below, you'll find our thoughts.

Bea's Thoughts:

I remember thinking that art class in college was often boring but this book was interesting and fun. It gives a good overview of Western art history up until about the 1950's. It has clear explanations that don't talk down to the readers and lots of prints of different artworks. There are explanations of art styles and techniques, a brief bio of each artist profiled, and information about one work by that artist. The illustrations are well done and the book works for reading or just browsing and looking at the art.

I do wish that it took a more global look at art and artists and spent more time in current artists and trends but the book should inspire many readers to explore for themselves. There's a wonderful range of suggested activities to help children learn and explore about different techniques and I plan to try some of the activities in my and two and three year old classroom. The directions for the activities are clear and there's a range for different age groups.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and recommend it for children preschool age on up.

Jax's Thoughts:

My nine year old lit up when I showed her this book. She's my artistic one. Her art teacher had introduced her to roughly a fourth of the artists listed, but not necessarily the pieces shared. I agree with Bea that it could have a broader world range, though it did include both women and African American artists. This is a nice solid start for art appreciation and history. It also teaches some nice points on art tips and tricks. One of my favorite things about this book is the subtle differences in the illustrations, which helps to highlight that art isn't static, isn't uniform. (My daughter actually pointed that out to me, but it's still pretty cool.)

I've loved the conversations she and I have had based on this book. Everything from practical 'how-to' discussions to colors to why it makes me feel/think something. We've got a few plans to try out the projects suggested, and she's been having a blast with the coloring sheets that came with it. I've quite enjoyed this book. I'll let her tell you what she thinks of it.

Little Miss's Thoughts:

I loved the book because it talked about the artists' lives. It helped me feel like I knew them, helps me understand how they made their art, and how I can make my own. I loved learning about artists I'd never heard about, like the Limbourg Brothers. (Did you know they were hired by a duke to make a book of prayers? I love how pretty the pages looked.)

I think it's cool that they put in the pictures to color in, it's like making a masterpiece your own. My favorites are the Mona Lisa and Monet's Japanese Footbridge and the Water Lily Pool.

I think this is a really good kids, because it teaches a lot involving art and has projects you can try. The Search and Find for Seurat's painting is really cool. (Did you know he did his paintings with just dots?) It's cool that it tells you about lots of different kinds of art, and where you can find it. I like the facts and quotes in the illustrations.

My favorite painting in the book is Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh. The project I want to try the  most is the Tissue Paper Face. There is a lot more I want to tell you about the book, but my mom says a review shouldn't tell you everything. It should make you want to read the book. So go read the book if you want to find out more.



The publisher is givng away is a finished book, hardcover, to a reader in US & Canada. Please read the Giveaway Policy.
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  1. I think I could benefit from reading this myself since I glaze over when a history book gets too textbook-ish. Me thinks this will do a better job at getting me educated than taking a class LOL

    1. It works quite well as an adult's introduction also. It's definitely worth reading.

  2. Oh that's a great way to review the book. And it sounds like a lovely one! :) Thank you!

  3. I don't do much non fiction but this looks pretty informative even for an adult!

    1. It really is. I don't do a lot of non-fiction but this one called to me. :)

  4. My grandson is starting to get interested in art. I think we would both enjoy reading this book.

  5. My favorite artist is Remington, I love the bronze sculptures, they are beautiful

  6. A favorite artist or even art form is incredibly hard for me to choose. I enjoy so many different art forms, both graphic and sculptural, as well as the performing arts. Almost every time I'm introduced to a previously unknown artist I find a new friend and try to get inside their creative head and figure out what they want to show me. Thanks for the giveaway. this book looks very good.

  7. The art scene at my kid's school is abysmal. This sounds exactly like the book I need! Our current favourite artist is Monet, for the beautiful garden pics he created!

  8. like all kinds of art


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