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Art Appreciation With a Twist for Children in Creatively Written Picture Book

Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.

Classical paintings with a twist along with the real paintings

Classical paintings with a twist along with the real paintings

Introduce Your Children to Classical Paintings With a Fun Twist

Thais Vanderheyden's The National Menagerie of Art is a delightful book for all ages to introduce your children to the world of classical art. Vanderheyden is an artist herself who has added some fun to learning about classical masterpieces by creating some versions of the classical paintings by putting animals in the paintings. She added a Gallery of the actual masterpieces on the last few pages of the book for children to learn to recognize these classical works of art.

The Mona Lisa turned into Mona Piglet. Vincent van Goat's Bugflowers adds some fun to the actual painting of Sunflowers by Van Gogh. Claude Monet's The Water-Lily Pond was changed to Clawed Monkey's The Frog's Pad. These are just a few of the creative changes that Vanderheyden made to add some fun for children to be introduced to the real masterpieces that she puts in the Gallery on the last pages of the picture book.

The Gallery that is featured in the book includes a wealth of masterpieces that should be part of everyone's art knowledge. She includes a picture of the actual painting with the name of the artist and very interesting information about each painting. Masterpieces from all genres of classical paintings are included and masterpieces from all centuries are included. A few pieces of modern art such as Mark Rothko's White Center are included.

The National Menagerie of Art is recommended for all ages. It was published by Prestel Publishing and has an ISBN of 978-3-7913-7509-0.

Art lovers will find this an entertaining book to introduce children to classical paintings and add to their education in art appreciation.

Fun Changes to Masterpieces Along With Photos of the Real Masterpieces

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Bring The National Menagerie of Art Into the Classroom for Fun With Art Appreciation Activities

Teachers in classrooms who add art to their curriculum will want to add this creative picture book to their classroom library. I always had books about art in my pre-school, kindergarten, and early elementary classrooms. Art classes as a separate entity in schools are always the first classes to be cut when the school budget is slashed. Teachers who teach in an all-inclusive classroom should take the time to add art activities to their lesson activities whenever possible if their school does not have a separate class for art because of budget constraints.

*Read The National Menagerie of Art in a story time session. Tell the students that the paintings featured in the first part of the book have been changed from the actual masterpiece by the author of the book to add some fun to learning art appreciation.

*Choose each changed painting one at a time and turn to the Gallery in the back of the book to find the actual masterpiece. Engage students in a discussion of how the author of the book changed the original painting to put animals in her imagined paintings.

*Provide drawing paper, crayons, and markers for children to draw their favorite painting from the book. Provide easels and paint with brushes for children to paint their favorite painting from the book. Engage children in a discussion of why they chose their favorite painting.

*Go through the Gallery at the end of the book and provide an opportunity for children to classify the masterpieces according to features such as portraits, nature masterpieces, and the two pieces of modern art.

*Call attention to the two pieces of modern art. Provide the opportunity for children to find the changed painting in the book and match to the actual masterpieces in the Gallery.

*Engage the children in a discussion of the shapes that the artist used in the modern art paintings. Provide drawing paper, paint, crayons, and markers for children to paint or draw their own modern art piece.

*Display student paintings in your classroom.

*When I was in the classroom, my school organized a fundraiser for each classroom by offering children's paintings and drawings for sale to parents. This was a fun and successful fundraiser that also added to lessons in art appreciation.

© 2022 Cindy Hewitt

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