Thursday, November 1, 2007


I'm wondering if this is a good idea:

"(Kids) can tug, snap, lift, and pull their way through art history. Featuring works of art by the Masters of the Renaissance and the Baroque period, this book will let you brush Mona Lisa’s hair, shine Vermeer’s pearl earrings, ruffle Raphael’s feathers, and more."

Why does that sound like Barbie?

This one looks better:

"Featuring modern art from the 20th century, this book will let you feed Matisse’s fish, have a birthday with Chagall, eat your lunch with Hopper, and more."

Here's one reviewer's take, which mentions that some pictures in these board books, like Botticelli's Birth of Venus, have been cleverly cropped to avoid over-exposure of the young to certain body parts. Has anyone else seen or reviewed these books? What ages are they for? Would they blow me away if I were actually holding a copy?

In the absence of more information, I think I'd rather chance it and take kids to a live art museum, where I could yell at them not to touch the paintings. The National Gallery has a Hopper exhibit through January, and a great cafe, if you need lunch with the old boy. Or if you can't get to a decent museum, what about dragging out your well-worn copy of From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg and exploring the Met with Claudia and Jamie?

On the other hand, if you really want your children to interact with Mona Lisa's hair, well...I don't have any suggestions for you. You'll have to buy the book.

P.S. Check out the contest in the post below.


  1. I am so full of emotions I don't know what to say.

    Have we become so "interactive" a society that the only way we can learn to appreciate art is to manipulate it? Do we really not trust children to be able to learn how to look at and appreciate a painting for what it is, not how it can amuse and engage us?

    If I had all the money in the world (if I were Bill Gates) I would offer any person on the planet travel expenses and admission to the museum of their choice in exchange for a copy of these books... so that I could destroy all known copies.


R-E-S-P-E-C-T (or you will be deleted)

You can receive followup comments to this conversation by checking the "notify me" box below the comment window.