Thursday, February 5, 2004

The Shape Game

Browne, Anthony. 2003. THE SHAPE GAME. New York: Farrar Strauss Giroux. ISBN 0374367647 [Suggested Grade Levels: 2-4].

The shape game: a game that can be played by anyone, anytime, often played very well by children, a game that can change your life forever, according to the author. A trip to the art museum for mother’s birthday, reluctantly made by dad, George, and Anthony, turns into an incredible experience for the entire family as connections are made between themselves and the paintings on display. Throughout the family’s visit to the museum, discussions occur that center around the art found at the museum and all of the family leaves with a greater appreciation for fine art. On the way home, the family stops at the gift shop, and purchase a notebook and two colored markers, and fill their time on the train ride home playing “the shape game,” a game where anyone can be an artist.

In this particular story, the realms of fiction and autobiography are woven together to give the reader some insight into an experience in the author’s childhood that truly impacted his life and his pursuits as an artist. Told from a first person narrative, the reader is drawn into the story as if a personal friend was relating an experience one on one. What began as a forced experience of culture, put upon the family by mom, turned into an experience that not only drew the family together, but also influenced the author to put his own mark on the world of art, through illustration. Throughout the book are facsimiles of real paintings, which the family takes time to discuss and analyze. The use of these real paintings allows the reader the opportunity to appreciate art, as well as impacting the focus of the story where the family comes to appreciate art as well.

Visit an art museum and discuss similarities between paintings and real life.
Follow the directions at the end of the story and play the shape game.
Use to introduce a unit on art, and then work to create several different types of artwork. When the unit is complete, have an art show.

Other books about art:
Cressy, Judith. CAN YOU FIND IT? ISBN 0810935792.

Other books about shapes:
Serfozo, Mary. THERE’S A SQUARE: A BOOK ABOUT SHAPES. Illustrated by David Carter. ISBN 0590544268.

Other books by Browne that could be compared to this one:

By Kirsten Murphy

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