Arlo’s ARTrageous Adventure! by David LaRochelle

Museums can seem somewhat stuffy to children, particularly since most museum-goers are pretty serious-looking people; also, there are many stifling rules that one must comply with, such as the fact that, usually, no one is allowed to touch any of the expensive exhibits — especially not curious and rambunctious children.

In Arlo’s ARTrageous Adventure!, the eponymous protagonist reluctantly follows his grandma to the art museum. As his grandma talks him through the proper etiquette and brings him around the museum, Arlo allows his imagination to run wild. Suddenly, the exhibits become a lot more exciting…

Continue reading

Museum Shapes by the Metropolitan Museum of Art

There are probably hundreds of children’s books out there on shapes — almost all featuring photographs of simple objects, or straightforward illustrations. While infants and very young toddlers who are just starting to recognise basic geometric shapes will appreciate these books, they will also tire of them very quickly.

Enter, stage left, Museum Shapes by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is the perfect book for toddlers who have already mastered the basic shapes. Like My First ABC, the most unique selling point of Museum Shapes is that every painting that appears in the book is a bona fide piece of art hanging in the museum, including works by renowned names such as Picasso and van Gogh — a great way to subtly introduce children to fine art.
Continue reading

The Art Collector by Jan Wahl and Rosalinde Bonnet

Children are the most clear-headed about what they like or do not like — for proof, just try to make a kid do something — anything — that he or she doesn’t want to do. Inevitably, though, somewhere along the journey to become grown-ups, instead of listening to their own instincts and desires, they start to listen to others’ and emulate their behaviour; and sadly, they also learn how to be pragmatic, to give up on the things that are ostensibly impractical but which they enjoy, and instead do something that may not be exactly what they want to do but which has a more “practical” pay-off. Not that being practical is always a bad thing, of course, but it’s important to let kids be aware of all the available options, so that they can make informed decisions on their own.

But I digress.

Continue reading

Katie and the Starry Night by James Mayhew

It’s not easy to make something as abstract as art ‘come alive’ for kids, but that is exactly what the author has succeeded in doing via his imaginative ‘Katie’ series of books that weave real masterpieces by renowned artists into the creative plotlines. One such title is Katie and the Starry Night, which, naturally, stars (pun intended) five paintings by Vincent van Gogh.

Continue reading

Henri’s Scissors by Jeanette Winter

Most people have probably heard of the great French artist Henri Matisse, or even seen his renowned paintings, but unless you’re a fan of art history, that’s probably about all that you know of him or his life — which would be, as we discovered through this book, a real shame.

Henri’s Scissors is a beautiful biography of the artist, offering not just a glimpse into his creative and artistic genius, but also his indomitable spirit and inner strength.

Continue reading

My First ABC by the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Rather than using boring photographs or nondescript artwork by one or two artists to illustrate an alphabet book, why not use the existing works of some of the world’s greatest artists to introduce babies and toddlers to the world of art at the same time? Behold: My First ABC by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Instead of the usual photo or cartoon apple for the letter ‘A’, you get a still-life painting by no less than Paul Cezanne; for ‘D’, the word ‘dancer’ is illustrated using The Dancing Class by Edgar Degas.

Continue reading

I’m the Best Artist in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry

Turns out that sea creatures can be pretty funny, since I’m the Best Artist in the Ocean brings back the hilariously overconfident giant squid who first appeared in I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean.

This time, he declares to anyone who’ll listen that he’s the “best artist in the ocean”. Well, art is subjective, so you can be the judge of that when you see his giant “mess-terpiece” at the end!