This is a delightful book which was shortlisted for the Educational Writer’ Awards in 2018.
First, though, what’s a review of an art book doing on a writing-related website? Simple: I think that writers can be inspired and have some of their creativity unlocked by thinking about and doing things other than writing. I have found that looking at exhibitions, whether of art, photography or historical artifacts sparks off ideas for future articles. Now that that’s out of the way, how does this book stack up?
With children as the target audience, this book is a fair-paced romp through the history of paintings from cave paintings to the present day. All that in less than 100 pages!
It’s done very well. The paintings are presented in chronological order, each having a double spread. The large format of the book ensures that the paintings can be seen in detail, while the quality of the paper, full colour and the fact that it’s a hardback all combine to give the book a sumptuous feel that is exactly right for the subject matter.
Each page has a description of the painting and notes on the artist, and is enlivened by the presence of a cartoon. Th reader is told the significance of the painting, such as making use of perspective, or is given some challenges. For example, you might be asked what clues there are in the painting to suggest that the sitter is quite wealthy.
Suggestions for other paintings by the same artist, and similar artists, are also made.
With a good index, it’s easy to refer back to particular artists, or to explore particular themes, such as perspective.
I think this book will do much to inspire young people to want to look at paintings, and to see them in a different light perhaps. My only complaint is that it’s a pity that there is not a list of where the paintings shown, and those recommended, may be found.
Nevertheless, this would make a lovely and inspiring birthday present for some lucky youngster.
Please note: this book was sent to me as a review copy, but that has not influenced my review.