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Art Detective: Spot the Difference!

Last updated Sunday, July 28, 2019

Author: Doris Kutschbach
Date of Publication: 2013
ISBN: 3791371045
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Aug. 2019

Synopsis: From Michelangelo to Picasso, art history is filled with stories of spectacular forgeries that have stumped the greatest scholars of their time. It is from this fascinating angle that young readers learn about the great works of art in this fun and educational book. Set in an imaginary museum, it presents reproductions of famous art works alongside "forgeries." Readers are asked to play detective as they examine each painting closely, looking for the differences. Along the way a small cartoon sleuth leads them through the paintings, uncovering technical and historical details that enhance readers' appreciation and knowledge.

Note to readers:
•  This is a "Find the Differences" book. You can do a picture-walk first, then sit with the group to find the "forgery".
•  There are 15 "mistakes" on each "forgery." The solutions and additional information about the artist and the picture itself are at the back of the book. You might want to switch back and forth.
•  Most of these pictures are quite famous. See which ones are familiar to you!

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you ever been to an art museum like LACMA (LA County Museum of Art)?
•  Do you like to make art of your own? What kind?


•  forgery - the action of forging or producing a copy of a document, signature, banknote, or work of art.
•  detective - a person, especially a police officer, whose occupation is to investigate and solve crimes.
•  museum - a building in which objects of historical, scientific, artistic, or cultural interest are stored and exhibited.
•  landscape - all the visible features of an area of countryside or land, often considered in terms of their aesthetic appeal.
•  still-life - a painting or drawing of an arrangement of objects, typically including fruit and flowers and objects contrasting with these in texture, such as bowls and glassware.
•  ambassador - a person who acts as a representative or promoter of a specified activity.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  The "solutions" are at the back of the book. There is also a brief bio of artists.
•  What do you like or not like about some of the painting?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a frame by cutting a square/rectangle/oval out of the center of a page and attach it to another sheet of contrasting color.
•  Draw a picture (e.g. of a scene or something you did this summer), then add a "hidden" object to your artwork.
•  Check our craft ideas on Pinterest!

Special activities:
•  Work as a group to find the differences in each painting.

*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!