Friday, 18 April 2014

Art appreciation: Favourite ressources

Finn has been interested in paintings for a few months now and really enjoys his few books about art. I thought I would share them with you today as they are all books that I would recommend for any family. Please note that I do not link to any online retail shop but to the publishers of the books. I suggest you check whether your local independent bookshop can get them for you, or check your library catalogue.

The Mini Masters series is how it all began for us. There are four sturdy board books, each dedicated to a particular artist. A selection of paintings is used to tell a rhyming story. What a great way to engage children! This collection was a love at first sight for me and Finn adores them. They would make a fantastic gift for a one-year-old.
The I Spy collection is just as engaging for young children (I would say from 18 months). Whether your child is interested in animals, transports, numbers, colours or shapes, there is a book for everyone. The objects to find vary in difficulty, keeping the children's interest high. One thing to note is that the paintings selected are lesser known masterpieces, with a wide variety of styles and origins.

More recently, Finn discovered the Katie series. Katie is a little girl who loves going to galleries and always ends up having adventures with the characters and objects found in the paintings. A highly entertaining and playful collection, full of action and fun, based on a variety of art movements and topics. The title and artists of the artworks are always mentioned in the story. The books are not short and there is a lot of text, so these books would be best suited to 2-year-olds onwards.We are looking forward to discovering more of Katie's stories! Do check out James Mayhew's website, the man is fascinating.
Lastly, Finn has been really enjoying these Usborne Famous Paintings cards. These cards are such a good investment. The first thing I did when we got them was to photocopy them to make matching cards and bingo cards. They are just the right size for little hands, and very sturdy. Great to display or play with! Finn likes to sit and look through them all, observing all the details. I sometimes sit with him and tell him the titles and artists names, which are printed on the back with some more information about each painting. Recently he has been inspired by the cards to make up stories. For example, he says that the screaming man (The Scream by Munch) is running away from the tiger (in The surprise by Rousseau), or that the lady in Un bar aux Folies Bergeres (Manet) is tired and wants to go to bed.

These few ressources have been wonderful for us as they have really accompanied Finn in his discovery of art and sparked his interest. His eyes light up when he recognises a painting when out and about and he points excitedly!
I would love to know about your favourite art appreciation books and activities. Please share any links and ideas!

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