August is American Artist Appreciation Month, so I want to share a great art book I happened upon at our local library! Nancy Elizabeth Wallace‘s Look! Look! Look! is the perfect book for guiding your children to explore art, especially if you’re unsure of how to begin.
Look! Look! Look! features three mice–Kiki, Alexander, and Kat–who live in the home of the Bigley family. One day when the Bigleys are out, a postcard of an art print (you can see the portrait here) comes through the mail slot and the mice decide to borrow it for a bit. First, the mice make viewing frames from paper and focus on different details in the picture, such as patterns and colors. Next, they look at the different lines and shapes they see in the portrait. The mice then explore the different elements from the painting and make some of their own original works before returning the postcard for the Bigleys to find. The concept is pretty simple: What do you see in this picture? However, sometimes I find that a simple guide like this is helpful because it makes me focus on the most basic elements of a picture. In addition to the story, there is also a glossary of the art terms used as well as a postcard activity.
My kids and I have enjoyed several of Nancy Elizabeth Wallace’s books over the years and I love her cut paper illustrations–you might recall that this is one of my favorite styles! Wallace uses her animal characters (mice, in this story, but bears and rabbits in others) to draw the reader in, so that even though you’re reading nonfiction, it has more of a story-like feel to it. There really is a good amount of information and discussion ideas, so even though this is a picture book it would be totally usable with older kids, too. As I was getting this post together I found that she has a book called Look! Look! Look! at Sculpture, so I’ve put that on hold at our library and am looking forward to getting more ideas on how to share art with my kids!
If you’re looking for artists and artwork so you can apply the ideas from Look! Look! Look!, don’t forget to check out our Tea Time Artists posts here on the Homeschool Share Blog. We’ve got lots of book and activity ideas for you so that teaching about art and artists can be fun and easy!