My [Sallie’s] all time favorite picture book is called ARTISTS’ HELPERS ENJOY THE EVENINGS, written and illustrated by M.B. Goffstein
, who is a fabulous illustrator. It’s a picture book in four chapters (a chapter picture book?), with a very wry sense of humor and beautifully designed pages. The characters are artist’s Conté crayons named Blanc, Noir, Gris, Bistre, and Sanguine. They live in Paris and enjoy their evenings. I wonder if this book would get published today, with its very subtle humor and lack of action or suspense. I fell in love with the simplicity of the drawings and the language and the love of art that shines through. [Book cover image courtesy of Sallie]
Another favorite is THE DOT, by Peter H. Reynolds
. It is about Vashti, a young girl who feels she cannot draw. Her art teacher suggests she, “Just make a mark and see where it takes you.” And when Vashti stabs her paper with a dot, her teacher says, “Now sign it.” With humor and sensitivity, this book portrays Vashti’s journey to becoming an artist.
Patrick McDonnell, the creator of the Mutts comic strip, has written an ode to ART
, a cute rhyming picture book about a young artist who’s name is Art. There are nods to HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON
, which is another classic, not to be missed. I first discovered the principles of perspective in HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON
. Have you forgotten the wonderful interplay between word and drawing in HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON
, also present in ART
? [Note from Zoe: my own review of Art
by Patrick McDonnell is here
With another little boy named Art, ART’S SUPPLIES, written and illustrated by Chris Tougas
, is a rambunctious exploration of various art materials, full of word play and visual and verbal puns and jokes.(“The markers all agreed that they FELT great.”) This book would inspire anyone to make a creative mess.
The six books above all have Art as a central theme. The following books have wonderful illustrations that qualify as fine art:
John Burningham, COME AWAY FROM THE WATER SHIRLEY and many others. I love his scratchy mixed media techniques.
Anything by Douglas Florian, a wonderful poet. I especially like the illustrations in his most recent books, DINOTHESAURUS; COMETS, STARS, THE MOON, AND MARS: SPACE POEMS AND PAINTINGS; and ZOO’S WHO. He has a wonderful website featuring his art, as well, http://www.douglasflorian.com/
Pauline Baynes was the original illustrator of the Narnia series by C. S. Lewis. Her work inspired my own love of art.
And lastly I will mention my own book, THE ROBIN MAKES A LAUGHING SOUND: A BIRDER’S JOURNAL. Based on my personal observations of bird activity in my back yard and surroundings, this book is designed (by Micah Bornstein) to resemble a journal/sketchbook or scrapbook. All the drawings come from my journals and sketchbooks, drawn from life.
I’m sure you’ll agree with me Sallie has done us proud this this great list – lots of interesting and beautiful books to inspire us and the children we read, play and make art with!
Some musical inspiration that could run alongside these books includes:
Scribble by Jim Cosgrove
Paint it Black by The Rolling Stones
Paint a Picture by Frances England
I’ll write and I’ll draw by Woodie Guthrie
Crayon Man!!! by Roy Handy and the Moonshot
Artists Only by Talking Heads
The Artful Parent
Art Projects for Kids
Color Color Color
As to suggestions for activities you might like to get up to with your kids, why not have a look for inspiration from these blogs:
You might also like this list of Basic (And Not So Basic) Art Supplies and this Big List of Toddler Art Gift Ideas from The Crafty Crow
If you’d like to look at some books that are all about illustrations and art in children’s books there’s a useful list here, at Afterthoughts (scroll down to the section titled “Books on children’s book art and its creators”). To Rebecca’s list I’d add Ways of Telling: Fourteen Interviews With Masters of the Art of the Picture Book by Leonard M. Marcus.
My special *thanks* to Sallie for such a great list this week – do try to find time to enjoy looking around her website and her blog as there are lots of interesting and beautiful things there! And please let us know your favourite art-themed kids’ books and other resources (eg blogs) via the comments – I’m looking forward to hearing from you!