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A Child's Introduction to Art: The World's Greatest Paintings and Sculptures

Last updated Sunday, August 6, 2017

Author: Heather Alexander
Illustrator: Meredith Hamilton
Date of Publication: 2014
ISBN: 1579129560
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Aug. 2017

Synopsis: 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.

Note to readers:
•  Read intro (pg. 8-9), what is art (pg. 74-75), talk about colors (pg. 36-37), then choose 1 or 2 artists int he book to highlight beforehand. You may wish to show a traditional artist and a modern artist so the children can see the difference.
•  Make sure you have plenty of different colors (markers &/or crayons) in the craft box.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What is art?
•  The paintings and sculptures in this book are very valuable and protected by guards. Why do you think they are so important?
•  Have you ever visited a museum with paintings and sculptures?
•  Do you have a favorite artist or type of art?


•  Romantic Art - often Romanticism An artistic and intellectual movement originating in Europe in the late 1700s and characterized by a heightened interest in nature, emphasis on the individual's expression of emotion and imagination, departure from the attitudes and forms of classicism, and rebellion against established social rules ...
•  Post-Impressionism - the work or style of a varied group of late 19th-century and early 20th-century artists including Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Cιzanne. They reacted against the naturalism of the impressionists to explore color, line, and form, and the emotional response of the artist, a concern that led to the development of expressionism.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Is looking the same as seeing art? (observation vs interpretation)
•  What type of painting or artist is your favorite?
•  What type of art would you buy and hang in your bedroom? Is this different than art you enjoy looking at?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a color wheel like on page 36.
•  Draw and color a picture similar to one in the book, such as a landscape or still-life.
•  Color a jungle animal, cut leaves and glue to paper, covering the animal a little, and draw flowers and grass with markers.
•  Check our craft ideas for August on Pinterest!

Special activities:
•  Have kids choose their favorite picture or type of art in the book and explain why.
•  Find art in the classroom or on the walk back and define the style, if applicable.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!