Thursday, April 07, 2016

My First 10 Paintings, by Marie Sellier

A playful introduction to fine art and famous artists awaits within My First 10 Paintings.  This lovely picture book is illustrated by, among others, Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, and Leonardo da Vinci! Through the peekaboo holes which increase from 1 to 10, children first glimpse a bit of a scene--eyes, birds, colored balls.  The text asks leading questions, for example, "Two hazel eyes that follow me. What mystery! Who looks through these eyes?"

After the peek and the questions, a turn of the page reveals the painting, with simple commentary in colorful verse artfully arranged on the facing page.  The "animation" of the words in this way will increase young children's awareness of print, an important early literacy skill.  The colored, rolling words echo the lines of the paintings, creating the sense of art as lively and moving, physically, mentally, emotionally. The questions, descriptions, and layout will all stimulate discussion with even very young children about the paintings, finding details, and wondering what the artist or the subject might be thinking.

Each painting is identified by artist and title so that you can investigate further after reading this book if you like.  

Further introductions to great works of art  have been created by James Mayhew in his picture book series about a girl named Katie.  She and her grandmother visit museums where Katie's imagination allows her to enter paintings to play with the children inside them.  In Katie and the Sunflowers, subjects of postimpresssionist paintings pop right out of their frames for an adventure in the museum!  For explorations in other areas of the arts, Mayhew's Ella Bella Ballerina books feature famous ballets such as A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Nutcracker coming to life as Ella Bella learns to dance.  Find them all at your Virginia Beach Public Library.

Review by Lynn K.

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