A few months back the children studied artists as part of their Speaking and Listening group. Emma chose Frida Kahlo for her project so when the team at Quarto asked me if I’d like to take a look at two books from the Portrait of an Artist series I was keen to do so.
The two books, one about Frida Kahlo and the other about Vincent Van Gogh are done so very well, striking the right balance between challenging children with some really good information as well as including copies of the artists’ work and other illustrations that are sympathetic to the artist themselves.
Emma recognised Frida Kahlo straight away and was, of course, keen to read it. We shared the story together and I was pleased that it provided a little more information and more in-depth that other books we had read. It doesn’t shy away from some of the harder parts of Frida’s life, which is good.
Emma enjoyed spotting the various animals that she’d learnt Frida kept as pets, which I think is a testament to how well-considered this book is.
After we had read the Frida Kahlo book she was keen to read the Vincent van Gogh book. We haven’t learnt too much about Van Gogh so this was a good way to learn more. She enjoyed reading this, and I was really impressed with how the illustrations really suited his style. Again the text is detailed enough for the children, providing enough detail without leaving anything unsaid. It’s also interspersed with copies of his artwork.
At the end of both the books, there are ten pieces of the artists work which are dated and some information is provided about them. I plan to do an artist study again with them next year when H is a little older to join in and I think we will start with Van Gogh and try to paint in these different styles.