From School Library Journal
Grade 4-7–Large color reproductions expose readers to a wide variety of art, from the best-known paintings of the 14th and 15th centuries to contemporary photographs and wrap art. European, Asian, and American art is included in the more than 30 discussed works. Illustrations are arranged to fill single pages, spreads, and small squares. The text, at times calligraphic, becomes part of the art as it invites viewers to take more than a cursory look. Questions encourage readers to observe details, while statements of opinion help to provoke new thoughts and elicit emotional responses to the pieces. Because the book is not arranged by chronology, medium, or style, readers have the option to skip around, to pick and choose the works to study–much like visiting favorite paintings in a museum. A concluding section gives the size, location, and dates of the works and the artists birth and death dates. The book will stimulate discussion and a higher level of appreciation of art.–Carolyn Janssen, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH
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Gr. 2-4. Art critic and Phaidon editor, Ruggi offers an excellent, accessible introduction to art that speaks directly to children without condescension. A wide range of artists, from the Renaissance to today, is represented, and each spread features a large color reproduction of a famous work. Interactive questions and simple observations invite children to consider the artists' decisions and connect what is pictured to their own experience. Next to portraits by photographer Cindy Sherman, who takes on a new identity in each image, Ruggi asks, "When you dress up . . . do you also change the way you behave?" Explanations of artistic movements are clear and direct, as in Ruggi's notes about op artist Bridget Riley: "She's not interested in what we see, but in how we see it." She even shares opinions: "I think van Eyck was showing off a little in this picture." Children will come away with a broader sense of art history as well as new confidence to connect with art on their own terms. Gillian Engberg
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