A Child’s Introduction to Art: Book Review

Deep Space Sparkle reviews a Child's Introduction to Art

I love a great book but when it comes to children’s art history, the selection has been boring. Not anymore. I was thrilled to receive a copy of A Child’s Introduction to Art: The World’s Greatest Paintings and Sculptures by Heather Alexander and illustrated by Meredith Hamilton. Finally a book that delivers a great synopsis of the world’s greatest artists in a voice that speaks well to children.

The book looks rather serious until you open up the cover to reveal a little surprise….

art history coloring pages

Coloring pages!

How fun is that?

Homer: A Child's Introduction to Art

The book contains biographies of over 35 artists each with child friendly facts, a copy of their most famous works and delightful illustrations that breaks down the art terms into palatable chunks.

What I love most about the book (aside from the illustrations) is the author’s awareness that many parents and teachers just need concise, interesting facts about an artist and not an entire chapter. Which, of course, is exactly what I love, want and need.

So much that I’m recommending this book as part of my new art curriculum that will be released this summer. I have created many new art lessons surrounding many of the paintings in the book and I’m thrilled to learn that author, Heather Alexander does a much better job of explaining an artist’s bio than I do!

Gaugin: A Child's Introduction to Art

The book also dives into some art elements like color and perspective. For the parent or teacher who might be using this book, these little art tips come in handy.

Here’s a peek at the “Color” page….

Color: A Child's Introduction to Art

And the “Perspective” page….

Perspective: A Child's Introduction to Art

It’s important to note that I don’t review books for compensation but rather as a helpful guide for you, my DSS readers, who might not be aware of some of the amazing books on the market. I scour book stores all the time looking for the perfect book for art lessons and I often miss the best ones.  And this book was a good one!

A Child’s Introduction to Art is published by Black Dog & Leventhal. Here is a link to their site.

Do you have this book yet? Let me know what you think. Has it been useful in the art room or at home?

Note: Check out this review on Angela Russell’s writing blog, Beginnings and Endings. The publisher is giving away a book! Thanks, Angela!

What do you think?

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  • Marcia

    Looks like a great book. I’m going to be reviewing it too. I can’t wait to get it now.

  • Michelle Gifford

    Do you think it’s a worthy investment for that magical 2nd grade (7-8 yr. old) range? It says it’s geared for 9-12 year olds, but as you know, some 2nd graders are ready for more advanced content. Let me know what you think! I’m always on the lookout for new books!

    • Patty Palmer

      The book is a great resource for teaching or for talking/reading to your kids about art. It’s not necessarily meant for a child to read on his own at this age. Older kids could use the book as a book report rescue, research for an artist study or just as a pleasure read. Hope this helps.

  • Mrs.C

    Going to look for this one! Thanks! 🙂

  • Bonnie Malnati Thompson

    Loved the preview! I am always watching for kids’ books with substance. As an elementary school librarian and as an artist, I have been gradually building up a previously bleak art section in our library. This will be a welcome addition!

    One thing bothered me about the “color page” shown: after sharing with two other artists what appears to be a glitch, I thought it worth mentioning. Look at the color wheel and see if you agree there is more red pigment in the tertiary section labeled “blue-violet” than in the secondary section labeled “violet”.
    We would switch those two colors, but not the labels. That would show increasing amounts of red as your eye moves from primary blue through violet to primary red.

    Being an editor is like playing goalie. There will be misses. =)
    Editors may not have seen that without some paint mixing background.

    It will teach students to trust their own learning and to test what they see. Thanks for the introduction to

    • David Ballast

      Bonnie: please get in touch with me. Been confused about your address.
      Interested in children’s books too.

      David Ballast

  • megbrum521

    I have this book! Haven’t had a chance to really use but am trying to work on future lessons so will review!

  • Joy Brewster

    Thank you so much for the comprehensive review of A Children’s Introduction to Art: The World’s Greatest Paintings and Sculptures. I have a beautiful daughter with Down syndrome whom we decided to home school this year. It will be such a great resource for her in the fine arts we are teaching her. I think it is so important to teach all children about art and music. It expands their world view.

    All the best,

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