Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Another Great Art Book Series for Little Kids: Colleen Carroll's How Artists See Series

I've loved discovering high-quality art books for children because I think that there's no reason they shouldn't start seeing grown-up art at an early age. There's no need for high-level analysis or art history for years to come, but just having these images in their visual memory banks can't hurt and there's no reason to think it won't provide the same kind of vague cognitive benefits as early listening to great works of music.

ANYWAY, I just found another series I love, in addition to the Lucy Mickelthwait and Philip Yenawine books I've recommended in the past. These are by an educator named Colleen Carroll and they're all called "How Artists See _____." Each book contains sixteen works of art, divided into four themes. For example, How Artists See America is divided into West, South, Northeast and Midwest.

At first I thought the books were a little more text-heavy than I preferred, but as I actually read through the first three I found at a library booksale (PeopleAnimals and Weather), I came to really appreciate her thoughtful questions about what techniques the artist used to convey feelings or ideas. She uses a great range of eras and styles, and isn't noticeably repetitive of other children's art books in my collection.

The cover of How Artists See Families uses a relatively recent painting of an American family.

This painting called "First Steps" by Vincent Van Gogh is much sweeter and more wholesome you'd expect. Van Gogh's brand is "genius with violent mental problems" but this is more like one of Mary Cassatt's family images. 
I'll try to post a full title list here soon, but in the meantime, if you spot one of these at a yard sale, grab it!

1 comment:

  1. I am the author of How Artists See and How Artists See, Jr. I LOVE your blog name and your insightful post regarding the series. The first four volumes (Animals, People, The Weather, and The Elements) were published in 1996...seems like a lifetime ago. No Internet image bases (yikes)...all images were found among the stacks at the NY Public Library. Anyway, the books had their 15 year anniversary in 2011, and to know that people are still discovering and enjoying them is a thrill. Thanks for your post. Colleen Carroll