how much traffic is going to my site Our Picks! for April 2007: Art Books for the Youngest | Perrot Memorial Library, Old Greenwich, CT

our picks!: art books for the youngest

Special Selections from Perrot's Youth Services Staff

April 2007

Perrot has many wonderful books about art for the youngest children.

These books "live" on our nonfiction shelves and are full of vibrant color, expressive line, pleasing shapes and well-known masterpieces;

remember, stories can be told with pictures as well as words!

Here are a few of our favorites:


A Picnic with Monet

A Picnic with Monet


by Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober

In this series of board books, Julie Merberg pairs paintings by a well-known artist with simple descriptive rhymes. In A Picnic with Monet, we ride the train past fields of poppies, to a garden with shady spots and a pond, perfect for picnicking. Get ready for the ballet, then watch the dancers twirl (and tire out) in Dancing with Degas. Or, take a relaxing walk past flowers, trees, and haystacks in In the Garden with Van Gogh. These small board books offer pleasant introductions to the works of great artists.



Vincent's Colors

Vincent's Colors

EASY J 759.94 GOGH

words and pictures by Vincent van Gogh

This charming book, published by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, features van Gogh's paintings, paired with short descriptions written by van Gogh himself, in letters to his brother Theo. Van Gogh's bright palette and highly-textured brushwork have a lot of kid appeal, and his descriptions have been arranged into sing-song almost-rhymes. The back of the book shows full versions of the paintings (the paintings, all rectangular, have been cropped to fit the book's square format), several of which can be seen in person at the Met. A lovely book for kids to explore.  


First Words

First Words


by Ivan and Jane Clark Chermayeff

A very simple book, which features a noun in five languages (English, French, Spanish, German, and Italian), paired with images of works of art-- both paintings and sculpture-- featuring that noun. The authors, husband and wife, describe in the introduction how the idea for the book came about: "First Words began as a game with our five-year-old son, Sam. . . Together we visited many museums, looking at paintings and objects and describing to each other what we saw and felt. . . .[W]e collected images of 'first words' that Sam was learning to spell in English and repeat in French. We soon realized that, as we looked at different ways of seeing through art, we could also explore different ways of saying the same thing through other languages. . . Looking at art is a way of learning to share as well as to see, and that is what this little book is all about."


A Child's Book of Art: Great Pictures, First Words



A Child's Book of Art: Great Pictures, First Words


by Lucy Micklethwait


This oversized book features two-page spreads of artworks in general categories like family, opposites, pets, and faces. The book's large format and clear type are nice features. The book's size means that paintings are not cropped, and they are large enough to allow children to seek out tiny details. Says the author, "It is never too early to introduce children to art. ... The history of art provides endless opportunities for discussion and for expanding a child's vocabulary and general knowledge."



Museum Shapes


Museum Shapes


The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Another great book from the Met, which highlights shapes in art. The book is arranged in groups of four pages-- the first page highlights a shape, with a companion artwork featuring that shape on the facing page. Turning the page shows you four more works of art with that shape, and repeats the shape itself again on the facing page. An incredibly diverse range of art is shown, and the best part is that all of the works pictured are just a short train ride away at the Met! Check out the Met's MuseumKids page for tips on visiting the museum with kids, as well as information on programs for children and families.

Also try:




Seen Art?


Seen Art?


by John Scieszka and Lane Smith

In this picture book by dynamic duo Scieszka and Smith, a boy is looking for his friend, Art. Except he just happens to be standing outside of the Museum of Modern Art. When he asks for Art, he is ushered inside-- and everyone seems to have a slightly different idea of what "Art" is. It turns out that Art the kid has been waiting outside all along, but in the meantime, the boy has had an exciting (and slightly overwhelming) introduction to the world of art, the thing. This book is physically squat in height, yet very wide, which allows lots of art to be  packed in for viewing (most effectively and notably when the kid encounters Monet's Reflections of Clouds on the Water-Lily Pond), and gives the reader the feel of actually strolling through a museum. Again, all the works pictured live at MoMA, and can be visited. Check out their list of regular family programs here.



Bottle Houses: The Creative World of Grandma Prisbey

Bottle Houses: The Creative World of Grandma Prisbrey


by Melissa Eskridge Slaymaker, illustrated by Julie Paschkis


A picture book biography of Grandma Prisbey, folk artist. Grandma Prisbey had some land in Calirofnia, but no house to for both her and her growing pencil collection. So she went to the junkyard, loaded up on supplies, and built one! She used bottles as bricks and held them together with cement, then decorated with dolls and other odds and ends from the junkyard. This is a vibrant book about a colorful folk artist who wasn't afraid to think outside the box. After finishing the book, kids will be amazed to see the photos of Grandma Prisbey's beautiful real-life bottle houses.









by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Ana Juan


A lushly illustrated picture book biography of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. The book focuses reassuringly on the way Frida uses art to escape the boredom, sadness, and pain in her life. Frida is true to Frida's real life story-- it maintains the delicate balance between sugarcoating and revealing details that might be upsetting (such as the particulars of her gruesome bus accident). Frida Kahlo lived a fascinating and turbulent life, and this is a realistic and colorful introduction to her world that is suitable for the youngest.




Dan's Angel: A Detective's Guide to the Language of Paintings

Dan's Angel: A Detective's Guide to the Language of Paintings


by Alexander Sturgis, illustrated by Lauren Child


Dan's Angel combines the art knowledge of Alexander Sturgis, Exhibition and Program Curator of the National Gallery in London, and Lauren Child, illustrator of the charming Charlie and Lola books. Dan, the wannabe detective protagonist, is intrigued by an art museum, and wanders inside. After looking around, he sighs disappointedly, "You can't read paintings like you can read books!" Touché, young Dan! An angel from a Fra Angelico painting pops out to show him around. The angel gives Dan some background on a few famous works of art, and Dan realizes that there is indeed detective work to be done inside the museum-- paintings do indeed have stories to tell, and there is usually more than one way to "read" them.


 Check this page monthly for recommendations from our staff! Each month will focus on a different category of books or other media.

We'll pick our favorites, and tell you all about them! Each book cover is a hyperlink to that item in the catalog, so click there to place a hold. 

Have questions about our picks, or need other recommendations? Call us! Our number is 203-637-8802.


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Perrot Memorial Library Youth Services Department, Old Greenwich, Connecticut

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