Friday, September 21, 2012

Thinking Thursdays: Books on France (Art & Architecture)

I'm back again to share about more books on France, this time, on art and architecture!  So here's the list:

:: If you want to read more about French painters: France has many famous artists, among them Edgar Degas, Paul Cezanne, Henri Matisse, and of course, Claude Monet, and I think one of the best series to introduce children to these painters would be the Anholt Artist Series.  This series has stories on all 4 artists: "Degas and the Little Dancer", "Cezanne and the Apple Boy", "Matisse the King of Colour", and "The Magical Garden of Claude Monet", all with engaging story-lines and beautiful illustrations.      

:: If you would like to introduce your child to paintings by French painters: Pick up some of the books from Mayhew's Katie series.  "Katie and the Waterlily Pond" brings you through 5 Monet masterpieces, while "Katie Meets the Impressionists" highlights various Impressionist paintings by Monet, Renoir and Degas.  Finallly, "Katie and the Sunflowers" introduces some post-Impressionist paintings by Gauguin and Cezanne (as well as Van Gogh).

:: And if you want something more exciting, try "Who Stole Mona Lisa".  In 1911, Da Vinci's Mona Lisa was stolen by Vincenzo Peruggia, who believed that the painting should be returned to Italy.  This book is an account of the theft, but is narrated from the Mona Lisa's point of view!  Its a great book for discussing how the painting is famous for being famous.

:: If you want to discuss art and perspective: Join Hugo and Miles in "Hugo and Miles in I've Painted Everything" as they explore Paris.  Hugo is an artist who has run out of things to paint, and as the trip proceeds he learns how to see things differently!  This was one book that Junior J simply loved, especially with its play on words.

:: If you want to take a closer look at architecture: Ok, I admit I've yet to find a simple, interesting story involving architecture for children.  However, I picked up a copy of "Cathedral: The Story of Its Construction" (its a Caldecott Honor book, by the way!), which narrates the planning and construction of a Gothic cathedral in an imaginary French town, and intended it for my own reading.  The book's beautiful pen-and-ink drawings and detailed descriptions aptly illustrated the pain-staking process of building a cathedral, and really helped me to appreciate the details of these lofty buildings.  While I was reading it, Junior J peered over my shoulder and asked "what are you reading?", and I ended up explaining some of the illustrations to him.  The book came at the right time since it meant I could point out certain features when we were visiting the Notre Dame Cathedral!

Yup, and that concludes our long list of books on France!  Here's to a blessed weekend, and don't forget to enter the giveaway to win a book!


  1. I love the idea of reading books that introduce the city before you visit and exposing them to the culture in an accessible way. How useful! Thanks for that!

  2. Thanks for sharing these... I first came across your post on Monet's Gardens at your last Grateful Gatherings linky through SMB... and followed up again with this latest post on these beautiful art books for children. I've never seen such books before but I'm now keen on getting them so I can share them with my son when he's a little older.

  3. Jasmine: :) I find its been useful for engaging them, otherwise all those monuments are just so foreign! And it helps to get them excited about the trip.

    Serenely: Thanks for popping by! Its great to hear that you'll be getting some of the books, hope your son enjoys them next time!



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