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118
4.6 out of 5 stars
Mini Masters Boxed Set
Format: Board bookChange
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82 of 83 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 18, 2007
Format: Board bookVerified Purchase
My daughter is 2 1/2 and she LOVES her Van Gogh book. Brings it to me all the time to read to her. In all the books there is great rhyming, short phrasing (for similarly short attention spans--great for toddlers!), and beautiful paintings.

My personal favorites are Degas and Van Gogh. I was rather let down by the Monet; I thought they chose works that didn't represent what Monet did best and was best known for, but no kid is going to care about that. They actually work together to tell a story, which is nice compared to the more randomly chosen paintings in other of these books.

The Matisse has some crazy paintings in it but they are bright and boldly colored, sure to capture a kid's attention. (Some people have complained about the two "nudes" in the Matisse book, but realistically, the figures are not anatomically detailed and in my opinion, not at all offensive or embarrassing.)

I love these because they familiarize children with famous works of art and artists without them even knowing it and the writing/poetry in the books is fun to read and keeps my daughter reading along. Highly recommended, as well as the other individually sold books (Seurat, Cassatt, Picasso, & Renoir)!
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2007
Format: Board bookVerified Purchase
These are great books. We purchased our first book, Picnic with Monet when my daughter was a newborn. She is now 20 months old and she has the Mini Masters Boxed Set (a great deal) and Quiet Time With Cassat. She loves these books! She will bring them to me one-by-one and ask me to read each one over and over. I think she enjoys the lyrical quality of the text as well as the paintings. She loves pointing out the different items in each painting and commenting on what is taking place (playing, sleeping, dancing, etc.) It's interesting that even though some elements in certain paintings are rather abstract, she still knows what she is looking at. I love fine art and grew up seeing many of these paintings, so I'm glad that I can expose my daughter to the Masters in such a fun and positive way.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 19, 2006
Format: Board bookVerified Purchase
These are beautiful books. The color reproductions of fine paintings are as wonderful as those found in many art history textbooks. The writing is simple and not terribly obtrusive. You could read what is written or simply narrate the paintings to your child. These books are fascinating even to small babies and at the same time don't cause the adult to suffer in the slightest. Excellent!
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2012
Format: Board bookVerified Purchase
The books are wonderful - colorful, sturdy, and my 2 year-old absolutely loves them. As I started digging more data on the paintings, however, I noticed that the titles in the Van Gogh book are out of order, even though the authors claim "Works are listed below in the order in which they appear in the book". The correct order should be: Sunflowers, Irises, Olive Grove, Women Picking Olives, The Sower, The Reaper, Haystacks in Provence, The Siesta, First Steps, and The Starry Night.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 15, 2007
Format: Board bookVerified Purchase
These are among my favorite books. I give this set as a gift every time I get the chance. They are so soothing and beautiful, not to mention educational. My 3-year-old son saw a print of The Starry Night when we were out, and he said, "Look Mom, it's Van Gogh!"
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2013
Format: Board bookVerified Purchase
There are many different series of books for babies, toddlers, and young children which are meant to serve as a first introduction to art. I have borrowed several from the library and so far the Mini Masters series is one of the best I have seen for my daughter's age group. She is 17 months old and she loves her Mini Masters books. We have the Cassat one and this set, which I purchased after I realized how much she loves the Cassat. Most of the artists featured by Mini Masters are Impressionists, and although I would like to see a mix of more modern art and art that dates much further back than the 20th and 21st centuries, I think that the Mini Masters series is meant to be a very chilled out series that will be perfect for quiet reading and discussion.

My daughter enjoys the sing-song meter of the poetry and looking at the pictures. She points to them and talks about each one. She is learning a lot of new words and colors. I am trying to teach her to pronounce the names of artists. I enjoy the peaceful storytelling (perfect for when we are settling down for bedtime or naptime) and the opportunity of seeing art in a new way. Now whenever we see paintings, sculpture, etc I point them out to my daughter and try to explain the art to her in a way that she can understand. I try to get her to notice the shapes and colors and things like that. These books are perfect for opening up a discussion with your child on art and artists. I also really enjoy that these books are about something I am actually interested in. I get sick of kid's books pretty quickly and luckily these are much more palatable to the parents who do the actual reading.

The only criticism I have is that I wish the books themselves were larger so the images would be easier to see, especially the brush strokes. I also think that the text in some of the books is not quite interesting enough to hold the attention of a very young reader. (Perfect for an older child, especially when the older child must share books with a younger one) Some of the reviewers have stated that they wished that some of the works that the artists were most known for were the ones that would be the most heavily featured in the books. I honestly don't really mind about that since we have many art books in our home and I can show those to my daughter if I wish. The paintings shown in these particular books are to kind of go with the storyline, and maybe even to introduce not only the child but the parent to works that we ourselves may not be as familiar with. Also remember that the publishers probably have to pay royalties or other fees to reproduce the works and the more famous the art the more it may cost to reproduce it.

The set includes Degas, Monet, Matisse, and Van Gogh. My favorite is the Degas and Van Gogh, my daughter's favorite is Matisse. Probably because it has the brightest pictures. The Degas and Monet are much darker fewer contrasting colors. I don't think she will be as into those for a while.

The Matisse does have two "nude" works included in it. The nudity does not bother me 1. Because nudity generally does not bother me and I do not want to raise my child to fear nudity or be ashamed of her body and 2. Because the nudes are less anatomically correct than a Barbie doll. There is not even a hint of genitalia or anything lewd or crude in the picture. My daughter points to them and says, "People!" and "Dancing!" and "Music!".

The Degas tells the story of ballet dancers preparing for a show. The Monet is a story about a train ride to enjoy a peaceful picnic in the countryside. The Matisse is sort of a day-in-the-life story which includes listening to music, dancing and playing games, and eating fruit. The Van Gogh is all about gardening and how living things grow. Like many children's books, each story begins with starting the day with something cheerful, and ends with settling down peacefully to sleep.

The books themselves are very sturdy and have held up amazingly well. My daughter is really rough on her books and these are seemingly indestructible.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2012
Format: Board bookVerified Purchase
I like the mini masters, but I wish they weren't all artists from the same time period. A little variety would have been nice but I like the stories and the paintings.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2012
Format: Board bookVerified Purchase
I figured if my daughter is going to spend hours looking at illustrations in books, she might as well be looking at amazing artwork. I'm not trying to be a pretentious parent - I just think these books will expose her to some lovely art and help foster an appreciation of a group of painters I love. I think this set would make a nice gift, also.

My baby is quite small but she does enjoy looking at (and trying to grab) the beautiful paintings on display in these books. The only thing I don't love is the text - it's a little stilted in places and I don't love reading it out loud. I'm sure it was hard putting a narrative together around a series of paintings, but there's not much wit or charm to the writing.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2013
Format: Board bookVerified Purchase
Honestly, as a visual artist, I wanted to love this series, but I don't. Some are better than others, but the words are a little odd at times. On the other hand, my toddler is infatuated with the Degas and Monet books (but doesn't care about the others at all). The fifth word he has said, in fact, was "degas," while requesting this book.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2008
Format: Board book
This is a great set for the money especially if you want to share art with your child. Some of these paintings I've seen in real life which is cool. I do wish the books were larger for easier viewing which is why I give them 4 stars only. I think my baby (8 months) would be more engaged if they were larger.

If you are buying individually, the Van Gogh and Matisse are bright and very eye-catching. The Monet is a bit murky and dark and the Degas similarly so although you gotta love the ballerinas. Of course, I prefer Van Gogh and Matisse anyway so maybe I am biased.
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