The Meet The Artist series features playful and interactive pop-up books that showcase three of my favorite art masters: Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder and Henri Matisse.
I purchased the Picasso and Calder books at the National Art Education Conference in San Diego last spring and at first I wondered how the books could be used in my classroom. Turns out they aren’t the best books for reading out loud as there is no specific story for children to follow. Instead, the books are meant for a child to place in his lap, open the flaps, cut the papers and play with the pop-ups.
And this is exactly what I let my students do.
After a lesson on Calder, my second graders were told that when they finish their project, they could come to the front of the classroom and play with the book. At first I was a bit nervous because these are beautiful, hard cover, beautifully illustrated and photographed books with lots of little pieces to tear and break.
The kids were gentle.
Pablo Picasso: Meet the Artist walks children through Picasso’s early life (lift the flaps to reveal paintings created when the artists was 7, 14, 15, 16 and 17 years old). This part is actually rather depressing as the paintings are really phenomenal.
The book moves through his emotional state (blue period) to his creation of cubism.
Papers are included for a child to create his own cubist collage.
Alexander Calder: Meet the Artist begins the same way, introducing the reader to Calder’s early years and his general likes and dislikes to his development of sculpture, mobiles and finally, painting. Creative photography displays images of his early sculptures influence of toys and the circus. Kids really love the circus pop-up in this book. In the back of the book there is a sheet of removable circus pop-ups to play with which are very cute and somewhat irresistible for adults.
Wild beasts, dance, drawing with scissors, painting with light…all the topics you would expect in a Matisse biography accompanied by beautiful paintings and pop-ups. Perfect!
These books are beautiful and like I said before, dainty. There’s a lot to be said for treating books with reverence and being very careful, but these books are meant for tears, rips and fingerprints. As I was watching my students flip through the Calder book, I was surprised to see how gentle they were with the pages. And most of these readers were boys. My guess is that the girls were still working on their art projects.
I hope you pick up one or all of these titles.
The author has many other art books, too. You can visit Patricia Geis’s website here.
Have you had the opportunity to flip through on elf these amazing books? How do you use them in your classroom?