Sunday, January 22, 2006

Seen Art?

Scieszka, Jon. 2005. SEEN ART? Ill. by Lane Smith. New York: Viking. ISBN 0670059862 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-8]

While standing on the corner of Fifth and Fifty-third waiting on a friend, a young boy begins to wonder about his acquaintance. What could be keeping him? I asked a lady walking by, ‘Have you seen Art?’ This question sparks a flurry of activity as one young man journeys into the Museum of Modern Art and into the world of art appreciation. ‘How do you like our new look?’ asked a lady just inside. ‘Nice,’ I said. ‘I’m here for Art.’ From the opening pages, readers are caught in a play on words as the young protagonist keeps asking about his friend, Art, and museum-goers guide him to find examples of modern art.

Readers are in for a treat as the dynamic team of Scieszka and Lane bring a unique twist to the world of art. The long and narrow shape of the book mirrors the modern-art theme while the stylized characters add personality to an otherwise adult topic. Although the first person narrative is repetitive, a broad overview of what different people think defines art is displayed by the reproduction of famous paintings. On the final pages, the question is answered as the two friends reunite outside the museum. One additional piece that is sure to captivate readers is the compilation of artwork as depicted within the book. If you wanted to teach children about art appreciation a great reference would be the book SEEN ART?

During a unit on art appreciation, readers can create individual self portraits to celebrate the re-opening of the Museum of Modern Art. Readers could display their artwork throughout the school and charge an admission fee as a fundraising event.

Books about art appreciation for children:
Browne, Anthony. THE SHAPE GAME. ISBN 0374367647
Raczka, Bob. MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE. ISBN 0761327975
Waldman, Neil. THE STARRY NIGHT. ISBN 1563977362

By Aundrea L. Wright

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