Don’t know much about… ART

Pretty much zip, actually.   Ted’s taken all kinds of art history and whatnot, but moi… none.  Which makes art a scary thing to have to share with my children.  Baking, yes.  Math, yes.  Geography, yes.  Art – nope!  (also history – shudder)

So when I found this book about Chagall in Value Village yesterday, I picked it up with curiosity:artbook 003artbook 004

99 cents!  What a bargain!

This book is part of a series published in the 60s, 70s and 80s (several editions) of books on art for children by an artist named Ernest Raboff.

The book features full-colour reproductions of several Chagall paintings, along with extremely appealing hand-written text by Raboff on the facing page.  Interspersed by snippets of sketches, the text explains Chagall’s use of colour, texture, symbolism, etc., in a way that’s easily understood by a five-t0-twelve-year-old, and consequently, even me.

artbook 001 artbook 002   artbook 005

Well, needless to say, me being me, I was so excited by this book that I had to go and buy six more, online:  Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Renoir, Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Picasso.  Not exactly $1 apiece, but not more than I would expect to pay for kids’ books.  (just over $30 for all 6, which, with the $1 Value Village book added in, will make around $35 for a set of 7, or $5 apiece)

Other books in the series include Klee, Gauguin (probably for the best with all those bikini women), Raphael, Remington, Dürer, Rousseau, Toulouse-Lautrec, and somebody called Diego Rodriguez De Silva Y Velasquez.  I wish there was one for Degas; though I know next to nothing about art, he is my favourite.  One simply must have a favourite, even in a field where one is toally ignorant.

It seems like these books are totally out of print, though Amazon claims to have a few new copies.  Pity.  If you can find them online, I highly recommend them for homeschoolers or any-schoolers who want a gentle introduction to Europe’s great art history.  Oooh, there’s that word again:  history.  Shudder.

My history phobia…. another nut to crack, for another day.


  1. Free days at art museums are another frugal way to provide art education.

    When we travel to distant cities, we try to go to art museums--most have some children's areas and activities and chances to see famous paintings and sculptures.

    And if you are ever in L.A., the best $8 you can spend (one time parking fee is the only cost to get in) is for a day at the Getty Museum. Incredible collection and many children's activities!

  2. I just put together a blog post about children's books about in, stories about kids who love art, have art adventures, etc...but this makes me want to go out and find books that actually teach ABOUT art and are fun. I am dying to check out these books now. Thanks for sharing!


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