I guess many children’s first introduction to looking at art is reading picture books. We have found some wonderful children’s books that illustrate stories about different artists’ lives in our local library. In Dali and the Path of Dreams author Anna Obiols and illustrator Joan Subirana tell the story of little Salvi who finds a key and goes on a wild adventure encountering long legged elephants, flying bananas, fried egg penguins and a snail tamer along the way. The book is gorgeous to look at and brilliant introduction to the work of surrealist Salvador Dali.
Another of my son’s favourite books is Uncle Andy’s. Written and illustrated by Andy Warhol’s nephew James Warhola it recounts James’ own childhood experiences of going to visit his famous artist uncle in New York City back in the summer of ’62.
The book also portrays the different lives Andy led to his brother elder brother Paul, James’ father, a junkman and conveys the message that ‘art can be anything and is around us all the time’. My son thinks it looks like so much fun to have stayed at Andy Warhol’s mother’s house in the early 60’s and recognises him instantly whenever he sees his picture, we loved it so much we also bought it for a friend’s son.
Laurence Anholt has written and illustrated a series of books each telling the story of a different artist. We love Laurence and Catherine Anholt’s Chimp and Zee children’s books so we were delighted to discover this series which includes Camille and the Sunflowers about Van Gogh, Degas and the Little Dancer, Leonardo and the Flying Boy about Da Vinci, the Magical Garden of Claude Monet and this one Picasso and the Girl with a Ponytail.
Picasso and the Girl with a Ponytail tells the story of Sylvette David, a beautiful shy teenager who for one summer became Picasso’s muse. The story of her encounter was told to Laurence Anholt by Sylvette herself. The story is filled with emotion and shows how different thoughts and feelings can translate in an artists work. Its a wonderful book.