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ChildrensPictureBook.info Review

Come Look With Me: Exploring Landscape Art With Children
By Gladys S. Blizzard
Charlesbridge Publishing

How do you look at a painting? If you're a child, you're most likely to look at a painting in a concrete way-what do you actually see in the painting? Is it a picture of a vase of flowers or a river surrounded by pastures of grazing sheep? It gets more difficult as the style of painting moves farther away from a realistic portrayal of its subject. In the Come Look with Me series of art appreciation picture books for children, children are guided by a series of questions to look and think about each of 12 paintings. The text for children is in larger type face, below which are several paragraphs that offer a description of the painting and give us ideas about how to address the painting's content.

In Come Look with Me: Exploring Landscape Art with Children, the theme is landscape paintings. The 12 paintings include realistic paintings like Albert Bierstadt's The Oregon Trail, Vincent van Gogh's The Starry Night with its swirls of color, M.C. Escher's Day and Night, and the abstract artist Helen Frankenthaler's Mountains and Sea. Each painting is presented as an opportunity to imagine and study. For example, the first question about Pieter Breugel the Elder's painting Hunters in the Snow asks how the artist shows us that this is a cold winter day. Children are invited to compare paintings to others in the book and to look at the brush strokes in a painting. This is not formal art instruction with labels and such that often comes between the viewer and a painting and the seeming requirement that if you can't say something intelligent about a painting you shouldn't say anything at all. This book encourages conversation and personal engagement with a painting shed of the trappings of traditional art appreciation. It's what art appreciation really should be. It is more "why do you think" type of questions than any other kind of question.


Come Look With Me: Exploring Landscape Art With Children

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