from Joan Justis
We open up the world of visual art to our children when we take the time to talk to them about picture books. We ask them questions about what they see and challenge them to think about the artist’s creation.
I always enjoy showing a nine month old a picture of an apple and a real apple. Babies soon start touching the pictures to help their brains understand that a ball can be a two dimensional picture or an object of three dimensions. With picture books of realistic drawings and photos, the child learns the names of many things.
As a first grade teacher I had favorite stories as I asked questions about art and illustrators.
These questions can be used with any book or work of art.
How did the artist tell us what time of day it is? Can’t You Sleep Little Bear? by Martin Waddell,
How do we know the pages are flying in David Wiesner’s The Three Pigs? Or that the cat is running in Janet Stevens’ My Big Dog?
In Wiesner’s Tuesday the viewpoint changes on each page. Are we up in the sky looking down on the houses? (the bird’s eye view) Are we down on the ground with the turtles? (the ant’s eye view)
In Our House on the Hill by Philippe Dupasquier, the artist tells us whether it is hot or cold. How did he do that? Look how tiny the house is in the picture. Why did he do that?
Some of the pages in The Raft by Jim LaMarche are mostly blue? What does it feel like?
Jan Brett’s books have sidebars in the illustrations that give us clues about what is going to happen—so delightful! And Hillary Knight’s The Twelve Days of Christmas has lots of continuing stories going on in her illustrations as you turn the pages.
And we always talk about the tools used to make the pictures-watercolor, colored pencil, crayons, and Eric Carl’s illustrations are collages of paper that he has painted.
Mr. Gumpy’s Outing is drawn with lines and textures.
You will soon find the children drawing an up in the sky or a hot day picture or a story within the picture. Take your children to an art gallery or museum and talk about what the artist has done!
Below are two of my favorite books.
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