This book is an interesting twist on viewing art and makes for great conversation starters with kids. When you visit art museums, the experience is so much more fun when the kids studying the art and appreciate it - otherwise it can be rather dull. I write ebooks, travel guides for kids that give the background story behind the art - usually religion or mythology, but this is the first I've seen of this type of twist and I love it. What a clever idea!
Of course art teachers will love it, but so will language arts teachers as these would serve beautifully as story starters! Parents can read this book at home to discuss the concept of combining paintings they see to make interesting comparisons and stories before visiting the museum!
I see there are more books from these amazingly clever authors and I'm going to pick them up now! I love them and you will, too!
. . . OR, rigid ideas about ART. Bob Raczka's cover 'pair' is amusing and colorful: the thundering Niagara opposite Bingham's fur traders as they edge toward the brink (?) on a deceptively calm Missouri River. It may well be my favorite double spread but among the next pages are "soap bubbles" and the pairing of Kandinsky's "several circles" that come close.
Van Gogh's "pair of boots" - is a little-known masterpiece and the pairing may be apt (what legs!) but how can we Not think of the boots displayed on our National Mall to memorialize the soldiers killed in the war against Iraq?
Each of Raczka's "pairs" is compelling, and the titles of the books in his Art Adventures Series for children are well-chosen for catching the eyes of parents & educators. We ALL hope to stir the imaginations of cildren. and need to be encouraged by creative artists like Bob Raczka. Lerner Books deserves praise for publishing great art education titles through their recent acquisition Millbrook Press.
And YES, Reviewer mcHaiku's imagination has begun pairing other works of ART. The Chagall windows at Chicago's Art Institute come to mind when viewing "the scream" and my mind leaps ahead to other favorites: Gustave Caillebotte (1848-1894), Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), Gustave Baumann (1881-1971), N.C. Wyeth (1882-1945), Tsugohau Foujita (1886-1968), Diego Rivera (1886-1957), Charles Burchfield (1893-1967), Wanda Gag (1893-1946).
What exciting adventures Bob Raczka has started us on! Don't be 'fenced in' . . . miss none of his titles.
Great for art, for creative writing, for storytelling, and for laughing together. This book is a keeper! Each page pairs two works of art in a way that sort of jogs your imagination. The art pieces chosen are less-familiar, letting the imagination really soar.
Fun to have your kids try something similar with magazine ads, etc.
Bob Raczka has written several interesting books about art for children. "More Than Meets the Eye: Seeing Art With All Five Senses" encouraged children to experience art through their mouths, ears, noses and fingertips. This meant tasting Thiebaud's "Cakes," hearing Tanner's "The Banjo Lesson," smelling Wyeth's "Portrait of a Pig," feeling Rivera's "The Tortilla Maker," and seeing Close's "Self-Portrait." "No One Saw: Ordinary Things Through the Eyes of an Artist" celebrated the artistic vision of modern artists from Renoir to Kandinsky. Young readers were introduced to individual artists and the special way in which they see the world.
In "Unlikely Pairs: Fun with Famous Works of Art," Raczka provides a way of looking at works of art that is quite different from what you would find in a museum. Their works are usually displayed by the artist, movement, or time period (although an exhibition might provide a more thematic approach). In this challenging book, Raczka puts together 26 famous works of art by dividing them into 13 "unlikely pairs." The pairings are "unlikely" because the artists come from completely different ears or at least represent completely different styles. The assumption is that when you see two very different pieces of art side-by-side that your mind will automatically start making connections between them. To be clear, Raczka does not tell his readers, whether they are young or old, what to think. He merely provides the opportunity for them to do so.
For example, the cover shows Andy Warhol's "Do-It-Yourself-Landscape" on the left side page and Jean-Frederic Bazille's "Self-Portrait" on the right. The two paintings were done 97 years apart and the reason they are paired is that Bazille is shown hoping a paintbrush and palette while Warhol's painting is incomplete (numbers 1, 2, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12 and 16 remain to be done). The other pairings are equally humorous, from Jan Vermeer's "The Guitar Player" providing the music for Keith Haring's dancing figures in "Untitled," to Frans Hals' "Young Man Holding a Skull" freaking out Edvard Munch's "The Scream."
Not all of the artworks are paintings. Emile-Antoine Bourdelle's "Herakles Archer" takes aim at Jasper Johns' "Target with Four Faces," while Auguste Rodin's "The Thinker" contemplates Paul Klee's "Large Chess Board." Okay, I am going to stop now because there are only thirteen of these and since the humor comes from the visual juxtaposition describing them spoils the fun. One pair works vertically rather than horizontally. The back of the book tells readers a little bit about each author next to a thumbnail reproduction of their artwork that appears in the book.
The only problem with this book is that there are only 13 such pairs because these only whet your appetite for more of the same. I want to share these with my Introduction to Humanities course, and think it would be fun (and instructive, but not necessarily in that order), to have students put together their own such combinations for the class. I am sure that art teachers or anybody dealing with students with regards to art could do the same thing. I bet that right now you are thinking up your own combinations, like Renoir's "Bathers" and da Vinci's "Mona Lisa." See how easy it is to come up with combinations that can readily produce a smile?
Super fun picture book to share with your kiddos featuring 28 famous works are art that have been arranged into 14 unlikely parings, each complementing the other in a strange or unique way. In the appendix there are a few interesting facts about the featured artist and their work. Loved it!