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Starry Night: Sophisticated Art Books are for Kids, Too

Today Debbie Glade reviews an extraordinary art book for children.

Van Gogh is my favorite artist of all time, as one could easily tell by the six Van Gogh prints I have hanging on my walls at home. Ah, if only I could afford to buy the original paintings!

Van Gogh and the Post-Impressionists for Kids: Their Lives and Ideas, 21 Activities for Kids ($17.99, Chicago Review Press, Ages 9 and up) by Carol Sabbeth is treasure chest of fascinating information as well as a visual masterpiece of colorful paintings by Van Gogh and other artists of the Post-Impressionist era.

The idea for this book came to the author after a 10-year-old boy asked her, “Were Monet and Van Gogh ever friends?” The result of that question is what can best be described as a young reader’s version of a collectible coffee table art book. Readers will learn about Van Gogh’s life, how he came to be an artist, other artists he interacted with during his life and how his many personal challenges affected his work. It is informative and engaging – written so children can thoroughly understand it, yet adults can thoroughly enjoy it.

As with all other Chicago Review Press Kids biographies, there are 21 unique activities in this book for readers to dive into, such as making a value scale of light, medium and dark shades, drawing a mirror image, creating a self-portrait in swirling words and making a pointillist sailboat. These activities are so awesome that I may just try one or two myself. In the back of the book you’ll find a map of the paths of post-impressionists, a useful glossary and bibliography.

Van Gogh and the Post-Impressionists for Kids should be a fixture in all classrooms from 4th grade through middle school. It would also be a perfect holiday gift for creative children who love to draw and paint. This is a book that will be cherished for years to come. I envy the author and editor for having had the chance to do this fascinating research and sort through all these amazing images of some of the greatest pieces of art ever created.

Image of Stary Night is in the public domain.
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