Tuesday, July 28, 2015

4 Books for Preschool Artist Study

With all of the children's books about art, how do you find a few really good ones to help you introduce artist study to your preschooler?

Read on for my top four picks...

1. Art Up Close: From Ancient to Modern by Claire d'Harcourt
If your child likes I Spy and Look and Find books, they'll enjoy Art Up Close. It includes 23 famous works of art by artists like Van Eyck, Bruegel, and Renoir. The author has chosen 10 to 12 details from each work for children to find, making looking closely at art a game.
2. A Child's Book of Art: Great Pictures, First Words by Lucy Micklethwait
The works of art in this book are organized by topic (The Family, Pets, Shapes, etc.) Each two-page spread includes approximately four paintings by famous artists that fit the topic. If your preschooler is an early reader, they'll be excited that they can read the "first words" under each picture.
3. Oxford First Book of Art by Gillian Wolfe
While this book is not written for preschoolers, there are two things about it that make it worth using with little ones. The book presents famous works of art with short descriptive paragraphs, and the author's writing voice is wonderful. For example, when describing the ancient Roman sculpture Discus Thrower, she writes, "You try to take up this tricky pose!" Also included on each page is a Look Closer feature in which the child is asked questions that get a child thinking. For instance, on the page with Mary Cassatt's The Child's Bath, the author asks the child to find three different patterns in the painting.
4. Look! Look! Look! by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace, with Linda K. Friedlaender
This picture book is illustrated using cut paper art, and is about three mice that find a postcard of - get ready for this painting's title - Portrait of a Woman, traditionally identified as Mary Clopton (born Waldegrave), of Kentwell Hall, Suffolk. The mice make "viewing frames" to look at parts of the painting. They observe details, patterns, and colors. And then they realize that there are some colors that the painting does not have. The mice notice that the lady in the painting is made of lines. Then, they cut out shapes from construction paper - cut paper art! - and make the lady out of the shapes. Finally, the mice play with their collage by adding and changing details (like making the woman a mouse, changing the background color, adding a cake, etc.). It's very cute and fun, and it introduces a few basic terms you can use with your preschooler when talking about art.
Those are my top picks. What are yours? :)


  1. Wow! thank you for sharing this. My son loves I spy, so today I was wondering what a kind of book would be good to do this. Because we were doing it with a book of pirates but it was just okay. But I checked the Art Up Close in Amazon and is Fabulous. Love it. Added to my wish list.

    1. Oh! I'm so glad! I hope he enjoys it as much as my daughter did. :)

  2. I need to check if my library has these. They sound great!

  3. I will be looking for these books at the library. I'm always looking for creative ways to introduce artists and art work. We just finished Introduction to color over the summer (just something I put together) and I can't believe how many fantastic, exciting, informative, beautiful books on color we discovered!! I got so carried away with the subject that ended up reading books on Color Theory written for professionals in different fields. Color: a natural history of palette was a very interesting read!