Friday, October 14, 2011

Painting with Scissors



Two perfectly matched books came out this year and you will love using them any age.

British import, Snail Trail: In search of a modern masterpiece,  by Jo Saxton (a professor of art history), is a very academic book...surprisingly perfect for very little kids.  Saxton doesn't talk down to her young audience at all.  She introduces terms like "hue" and "tone" unapologetically and wraps up her story with a cameo about Matisse that is intelligent, but understandable even for 4-6 year olds.  The term, "Painting with scissors" comes from this cameo.  It is a quote from Matisse himself, and it is the kind of turn-of-phrase that you could build whole art workshops around.  Definitely use it to inspire at least one weekend art project or storytime program.

Michael Hall's book, Perfect Square, published by Greenwillow Books was a perfect surprise for me.  I was kind of expecting it to be one of those books that are created and marketed to attract adults.  You know the kind... Graphic-appeal, but short on plot and storytelling and completely disappointing for children.  Hall's book is not a publisher gimmick at all.  It is a short but pleasing story.  It has elements of mystery and surprise.  It invites questions and conversation.  The illustrations are big and bold and fantastic.  In short, it reads as good as it looks.  And Hall is a very fine painter with scissors.

Round a program for little kids out with anything by Lois Ehlert or Eric Carle.  For older audiences pick up Wabi Sabi, by Mark Reibstein, and beautifully illustrated with paper collages by Ed Young.

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