Despite having ostensibly been a blogger – and even a teacher of online writing classes – for years, I am having some real old-lady-internet issues lately. Where’s my blog post about art books for kids? Where’s the word doc I thought I saved it to? What’s happening to me? I’m one more lost internet thingy away from a weirdly long aol email address with my birthday in it. But I know the only thing more boring than complaining about a lost post is writing, “Sorry I haven’t updated in a while,” so even though both apply I will leave this sentence while I can. Don’t bother reading it.
So anyway, I’ve been meaning to write for a while (there I go again, BORING STOP IT) about exposing the kids to more fine art, as the adorable tyranny of especially-for-kids-media seeps into our lives. Trips to art museums have become a lot less doable lately, though, courtesy of Mr. Smashy (I mean Alton, not Adam). Good thing there’s books. In fact, I am of the belief that most “real world” experiences can be better had reading books, but I would never admit that because it sounds crazy in a detached-from-reality way.
All of which is to say, we’ve finally discovered Linnea in Monet’s Garden, the book of the movie of the book of the art. Harper has really imprinted on the movie, probably because it’s the only one she’s ever seen (4 or 5 times now), and is proven to be unscary and associated with popcorn. But she likes the book too, which has just been re-released and is celebrating its 25th birthday, just like me*. *Just kidding. It really is a lovely book, and approaches Monet’s art and life in such a gentle, loving, approachable way. Harper loves the details about Monet’s life, the pretty pictures of flowers and most of all, the part where Linnea can’t have her picnic where she wants to and gets pouty. Add it to the list of reasons-I’m-excited-for-the-kids-to-be-a-tiny-bit-older: someday we’ll check out these actual water lily paintings in person, and I hope the experience will thrill Harper as much as the somnolent movie does now. And maybe someday someday we’ll go to the actual Monet’s Garden itself, and not be able to have a picnic where we want to. ( The Monet’s Garden recreation in the Bronx right now is too far away for us, but again: the future.)
Some other art-related kids’ books we love include the wonderfully otherworldly Coppernickel Goes Mondrian, which we picked up from the Enchanted Lion booth at the Brooklyn Book Festival last month, and, for the Mr. Smashy-set, The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s ABC board book — it’s like a museum visit you can chew on and throw at your sister!
Any kids’ art books you love?