Children’s Book of Art

cover image for DK's Children's Book of ArtDorling Kindersley (2009) Children’s Book of Art.  New York, NY: Dorling Kindersley

DK’s art survey book for older children is vivid and energetic, as is typical of DK books – and not always seen in books about art history.  The illustrations, text, and page layouts are all engaging without being overwhelming.  It is not meant to be an exhaustive history of art, instead it is an excellent overview of art history that delves into just the right amount of detail to capture tween’s interest and give them a sense of the variety and depth within art history.

The book divided up into three main sections: early art, modern art, and sculpture – as many other art survey books are.  Within each chapter however, the pages alternate between four different types of double page spreads: Artist Profile, which focuses on the life, work, and technique of a particular artist; How Did they Do That?, which explains in more detail the techniques involved in, for example, painting frescos or carving marble; Gallery, which displays artwork focused on various themes like animals or night; and Art Style, which explains and gives examples of various artistic movements throughout history.

By first creating a recognizable pattern of types of pages (artists, gallery, technique, movement) and then loosely grouping them into three related chapters, the creators of this book expertly manage to keep each page fresh without confusing readers or making the various topics feel disconnected.

While the title of the book says that is for children (and will, unfortunately, dissuade many tweens from trying it) it is very much a book intended for older children and in fact could work decently well as a book for even younger teens.  Although even younger teens may begin to find the main text fairly simple, they will likely still find many of the sub paragraphs and captions that are DK’s trademark to be full of intriguing information.

Best for ages: 8-12

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