I am passionate about art, and I believe that if our kids can tell Dora from Diego they can tell Picasso from Matisse. So even if like me you are in a small town without easy access to masterpieces you can share it with your children through books. My selected list of books about fine art:
Celebrity Cat: With Paintings from Art Galleries Around the World by Meredith Hooper is a unique look at some of the greatest masterpieces through the eyes of cats. It’s Cat visiting night at the museum and the cats are quick to notice that there aren’t many of their kind in these wonderful paintings. So one cat takes it upon herself to add them in. I love this book because not only does it expose the young readers to some fantastic paintings like The Mona Lisa, and Van Gogh’s Chair, it also has a wonderful message. See after the cats are included even though the world of cats love these new paintings. They soon discover that they don’t need to be in those paintings they need to make their own! A creative and cute story that integrates the art seamlessly!
Museum Trip by Barbara Lehman is fantastic. This wordless book has a clear strong message. If exposed children can lose themselves in art. It opens a new world with new adventures before unseen! The story opens with a little boy on a school field trip to a museum. He loses his group and soon finds himself in the art. After completing many mazes he is given a medal before he rejoins his group. My favorite part is as he is getting on the bus with his class he is wearing his medal and so is the museum curator. Love it!
Hugo and Miles In I’ve Painted Everything by Scott Magoon is going on my Christmas list. I have renewed this book for months from my local library. I finally have to return this book and I just don’t want to! The book is all about Hugo a painter who has painter’s block. He goes to Paris with his best friend Miles for inspiration. And among the sites, the masterpieces and thanks to the Eiffel tower he finds it! I love this book and my son just eats it up. He wants to go to Paris to the “Moosay Dor-see” to see Van Gogh and climb the Eiffel tower thanks to Hugo!
Katie Meets The Impressionists by James Mayhew is an art fairytale! Katie goes to the museum with her grandmother and before she knows it she is in the paintings and the world of the painters and their families. She goes from painting to painting gathering flowers for her grandma. Exploring the world on the other side of the canvas. What I enjoy about this book is that it brings the paintings to life for readers. It shares the back story in a way that children can connect to and imagine the possibilities when they go to museums!
Of all these books this one held my son’s attention the least. I like to think it’s because he’s not a fan of impressionism. But I think it was simply a little long for his not quite 3-year-old attention span. Maybe if Renoir had painted garbage trucks… seriously though this is a fabulous book and worth a read!
SQUEAKING OF ART, The Mice Go to the Museum by Monica Wellington is a fun book to read before and even more fun to read after a visit to a museum. This book follows a group of mice that all explore the museum and the art on its walls. Each page is a different theme and the text is a dialogue between the mice and their Cat guide about the art displayed. The art itself are the author illustrator’s versions of art you will probably recognize. There are multiple paintings on each page and if you are like me and like to quiz yourself on your ability to name the painting and artist this book is for you. There is a guide at the end of the book for every page.
I think I like this book even more than my son for that reason. My son likes it because he can recognize some paintings. But they are redone in bright vibrant colors and have a more cartoon look, which I think appeals to my son even more than the originals. When we “read” this book we often skip the text and simple look and explore the art. No matter how you read it this is a fine addition to any library for those who love fine art.
Did I miss any books about fine art that you would add to this list? Comment below or share on my Facebook page!
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Yes I love that series we reviewed one here https://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2009/06/closed-on-mondays.html they are coming out with new ones in the series soon too! I can’t wait ti read and review them.
Jen L. says
These are great! We have one on modern art called FEED MATISSE’S FISH. My son loves it and he’s only 21 months.
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Thank you for sharing those great titles. As a teacher, I love to expand the horizons of my kiddos. BTW – The two new Touch the Art books are fabulous. Review coming in November (have to wait until the published date).
James Mayhew says
Thanks for the endorsement…!
May I suggest Katie and the British Artists for your son, which features galleons and steam trains.
Fantastic James ! Thanks so much for coming and commenting! I didn’t know you had such a collection of books, I am in heaven! My son would love so many! I am off to find them in my area.
Teach Preschool says
What a great selection of books you have reviewed. There is nothing I love more than children’s books of great quality. I can’t wait until my next trip to the children’s bookstore!
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Good list….a few I haven’t heard of before! Thanks!
Patty – I have even more. I will do a more updated full round up soon!
I’ve been teaching art for over 40 years and have another addition to suggest: WHEN PIGASSO MET MOOTISE……kids love the humor and it really “shows” the difference in what each artist produced:)