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

by Heather Alexander (Author) Meredith Hamilton (Illustrator)

A Child's Introduction to Art: The World's Greatest Paintings and Sculptures (Child's Introduction)
Reading Level: 4th − 5th Grade

Explore the fascinating world of art and artists while trying do-it-yourself art projects in this colorful informative book. Introduce kids ages 9 through 12 to the artworld's most famous painters, styles, and periods, all brought to life through full-color photographs of 40 masterpieces, as well as charming original illustrations.

 This gorgeously illustrated reader 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.

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School Library Journal

Gr 4-8--This attractive, child-friendly primer brings many of Western civilization's major players from the Middle Ages to the present day to entertaining life. Artists' birth and death dates, cartoon portraits, and very brief biographies are provided, while representative examples of their works appear on opposite pages. Easy and engaging themed activities and quirky facts about some of the artists help make this title particularly appealing to young readers, though no source notes or bibliography are included. Informative essays are interspersed throughout, including an introduction about the meaning of art and its ancient origins and a final note about the contemporary scene. Of necessity, an anthology must omit some major figures, and only one woman, one non-European, and one African American are included. Also, the small font may discourage younger readers. Still, the colorful reproductions are quite well known, explanatory notes with arrows highlight salient details in the artworks, and the museums in which they are housed are noted. Often, quotes from the artists themselves are used, which shed light on their craft. This title will be useful for students in art classes or for art history units.--Carol Goldman, Queens Library, NY

Copyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

This engrossing primer (part of the Child's Intro series) invites readers to practice skills of observation and interpretation while looking at well-known works of art. Alexander offers brief biographical information about 35 featured artists and descriptions of their styles and techniques, while intermittent sections explore such concepts as color and perspective. Alexander helps personalize the artwork through thought-provoking insights; for Goya's The Third of May, 1808, she notes, "Goya didn't show the faces of the men in the firing squad. In their military uniforms, they are faceless evil." Art activities and spot illustrations are peppered throughout, and an envelope includes b&w images for readers to color. Ages 9-12. (May)

Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

An all-too-brief introduction to art for the younger set.

Alexander and Hamilton have previously teamed up on titles in the wonderfully accessible and affordable A Child's Introduction to? series. This lively and kidcentric entry highlights 40 big names, mostly European and male artists (Michelangelo, Pierre-Auguste Monet, Diego Velázquez, Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, etc.), in a series of two-page spreads grouped thematically. The book's handsome design captivates with an inviting cover and appealing 10-inch square trim. Though very heavy on the classics of European painting and sculpture, Alexander's accessible and readable text effectively combines with Hamilton's fluid, ink-and-watercolor vignettes and well-chosen reproductions of "signature" works. Further enlivened by intriguing, informative sidebars on theory, movements and techniques, it also features many related hand-on projects. A few very small nods of recognition to Asian, ancient Greek and Roman, Egyptian, African and Native American art are offered though at 96 pages one could hardly expect an inclusive, definitive resource. And it is light on diversity: Mary Cassatt is the only woman receiving a two-page spread, and Jacob Lawrence is the sole African-American painter. But then the only other Americans among this artistic Top 40 are Winslow Homer, Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol.

Limited scope notwithstanding, this is terrific for browsing, thinking, dreaming and art-making. (index, timeline, removable coloring sheets) (Nonfiction. 9-14)

Heather Alexander

Born in New York and now based in sunny California, Heather Alexander is the author of numerous books for children, both fiction and nonfiction, including Only In America, Eat Bugs: Project Startup, A Child's Introduction to the Nutcracker, A Child's Introduction to Egyptology, and the Wallace and Grace early chapter book series. Heather also works as a children's book editor. Visit her at heatheralexanderbooks.com.

ALAN BERRY RHYS is an illustrator based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has had solo shows in Argentina, Chile Paraguay and California and Portland, Oregon in the USA. His work is infused with nostalgic Americana and references retro graphic sign painting as well as contemporary pop culture.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers
Publication date
May 20, 2014
Child's Introduction
BISAC categories
JNF006040 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Art | History
JNF006050 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Art | Painting
JNF006060 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Art | Sculpture
Library of Congress categories
Parents Choice Awards (Spring) (2008-Up)
Silver Medal Winner 2014 - 2014

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