Book Review: Usborne The Children’s Book of Art

I must say I did not love this book and I am glad I didn’t pay more than four dollars for it. I was not able to view the cover of this book prior to buying, otherwise I would not have bothered purchasing it. I did not realize when I bought it that is was a book of famous paintings, and not a generalized art book for kids. I guess shame on me for not Googling it more extensively to see more about it.

I was hoping for a generalized art book about various artistic movements, famous artists within those movements, various styles of art, or just a breakdown of art styles by time period. However, if you are looking for a book filled with random famous paintings by completely random artists, this is the book for you. I’m personally at a loss for how they sell this thing. It does have a section at the beginning of the book on why we make art and different kinds of art materials or ways of creation. Then it jumps right into the random paintings. There is also a glossary of art terms at the back, which could be considered useful so this book isn’t a total loss.

Onward to the random paintings included. There is an attempt to order these works by era, starting with older works and moving on to more modern art in the latter part of the book. Some of the works included are The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, Fruit and Flowers in a Terracotta by Jan van Os, Dona Isabel de Porcel by Francisco de Goya, Dancer on the Stage by Edgar Degas, The Scream Edvard Munch and Campbell’s Soup Can by Andy Warhol. Other artists included are Monet, Van Gogh, Henri Rousseau, Klimt, Kandinsky, Picasso, Georgia O’Keeffe (the only woman), Pollock, and Matisse. I am officially even less impressed with this book for including only one woman in the entire book. Ugh.

This book has nice color prints of one work of each artist mentioned, and a few I did not cover. That is honestly about all I can say. This book is just so unimpressive in so many ways. It does have some good information, but it is overshadowed by the issues I have with it. If you are going to show works by famous artists, several would be better to show the progression of their personal styles, especially the people who pioneered entire movements. You cannot encapsulate an artist in one randomly chosen work. This book is NOT worth the money, even four dollars worth.

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