Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bridget's Beret by Tom Lichtenheld - My Little Train by Satomi Ichikawa - Famous Works of Art in Picture Books

Two of the books we brought home from our last library visit contain famous works of art. What an excellent opportunity to introduce my children to a few famous artists! This week we talked about Monet, Van Gogh, O'Keeffe, Matisse, C├ęzanne and more. It was a completely unplanned educational activity.

Have you discovered any other picture books that contain versions of famous works of art?

Bridget's Beret by Tom Lichtenheld. Henry Holt / Christy Ottaviano Books (April 2010); ISBN 9780805087758; 40 pages
Book Source: Copy from local library

"Before Bridget made any kind of art, she'd put on her beret and adjust it just right."

Bridget's favorite pastime is drawing. She has many art supplies, and, most importantly, like all great artists, she owns and wears a beret. Sadly, on a very windy day, her fabulous black beret blows away. Without the special hat for inspiration, Bridget finds herself suffering from -- *gasp* -- artist's block! Thankfully her sister comes to the rescue and helps her remember that when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade.

Lichtenheld's book overflows with creativity, cuteness and plenty of clever quips and illustrations. My family is a huge fan of Lichtenheld's previous books (Duck! Rabbit! & Shark Vs. Train) and love his entertaining comic illustration style. A talking rabbit is just one of the many funny touches. He manages to craftily work in a few interpretations of famous art into this book. Bridget creates lemonade poster renditions including one of van Gogh's "The Starry Night" and another inspired by "Whistler's Mother."

As soon as I read the inside jacket flap and discovered that this book was about a girl who loves to draw, I knew I wanted to read it with my daughter. Bridget's Beret is the perfect book for budding artists.

The book includes a handy "How to Start Your Art" guide in the back that discusses several famous works of art: Giuseppe Arcimboldo, "Summer" - Mary Cassatt, "Child with a Red Hat" - Paul Cezanne, "Still Life with Peaches and Pears" - Vincent van Gogh, "Bedroom at Arles" - Henri Matisse, "Icarus" - Claude Monet, "Still Life with Sunflowers" - Georgia O'Keeffe, "Above the Clouds I" - Pablo Picasso, "Bull's Head" - Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn, "Self Portrait in a Cap, Open-Mouthed" - Georges Seurat, "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" - Alfred Sisley, "The Boat in the Flood"

Related Links:
Tom Lichtenheld Website

My Little Train by Satomi Ichikawa. Philomel / Penguin (November 2010); ISBN 9780399254536; 40 pages
Book Source: Copy from local library

"Where do you want to go? I will take you anywhere," says the train. Whoo whoo whooo.

This train book is all about imaginative play. A little toy train takes various toy passengers on an adventure through a typical home cluttered with random toys and other items. The train stops at a pond (the fishbowl), the field (a painting), the forest (a potted plant) and even climbs a mountain (the couch) and drops animals off at all the different locations.

My Little Train is one of my three-year-old son's favorite books. The short, fragmented sentences are full of all sorts of sounds, making the book a lot fun to read aloud. Plus, it is simple enough for a beginning reader to chug through, and my daughter has read it to my son several times. The ending is a little weak, but the detailed illustrations by Ichikawa make up for anything the text might lack. It's full of inspiring ideas for creative train play. Central Station is made from books stacked up and if you look closely, you can tell that many of the books included in the stack are ones the author wrote or illustrated. Art enthusiasts will recognize the poppy field painting where the train drops the sheep off. It is remarkably alike Claude Monet's "Poppy Field."

Kid Konnection Link up your weekend book posts at What My Child is Reading at Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns, Feed Me Books Friday at Little Sprout Books and/or Kid Konnection at Booking Mama.

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momandkiddo said...

Bridget's Beret sounds interesting. I just requested a few books about Degas and Picasso from the library, I haven't read them yet, but I do like books which reference masterpieces.

Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

I think my son would like Bridget's Beret because he is artsy and loves to draw. I love the cover.

Julie P. said...

You know.... I remember reading some board books from Sterling Publishing that featured famous artists. They are called Touch the Art series.

Katie said...

Thanks for visiting my blog, I am a new follower of yours.

Bridget's Beret looks like a great find.

Debbie said...

Both of these books sound really good. I am going to go right now and see if I can get them from our library. Thank you for sharing.

Rashi said...

nice suggested readings, visited your blog for the first time and I have bookmarked it :)...We read a book and do a craft every week, check out my blog -

Kristie said...

These sound like such cute books, especially Bridget's Beret! Both my kids like being creative, so I'm sure they'd really enjoy it :-)

Amanda said...

My son would love My Little Train- I've added it to our library list. Thanks for the recommendation!