The Week In Books, No. 49B – Music and Art For Kids

Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin
is a FANTASTIC book. Hannah asks for it several times a day, and I don’t mind reading it over and over. The book has a rhyme for 10 different instruments, with descriptions and pictures that really show the character of the instrument. As each instrument is added, you learn that the group is now a duo, trio, quartet, etc up to the chamber group. This would be a great book to get kids excited about going to a concert, or to familiarize them with different instruments you might not have at home. Hannah likes to listen to classical music, so it’s been fun lately to tell her it’s a piece for violins/trumpets/harp etc and she goes to get the Zin book and points out that instrument. It will be fun to see which instruments our children wind up playing. We’re going to have them take a few years of piano first, so they learn to read music, but then they can pick another if they don’t want to continue with piano. Josh is hoping they like the trumpet, or mandolin, or guitar, or drums since we have those already. I’m hoping they like the cello, violin, harp, and french horn.

My sister-in-law recommended Lucy Micklethwait’s art books for children as some of their family favorites, and we have enjoyed them too. The first, I Spy: An Alphabet in Art
, assigns a famous work of art to each letter of the alphabet, and the child can look in the painting for things that start with that letter. Hannah could play that game all day. She’s pretty sharp, and has found several items that I didn’t see on the first go-round. I like that she’s getting exposed to great art, and getting reinforcement on learning the alphabet, and she enjoys the “pretty pishers” and the game of it. Her favorite seems to be Picasso’s “Woman Wearing a Fish Hat.” I’m tempted to be impressed by her sophisticated tastes, but I think the allure is really in the silliness of wearing a fish and a fork on your head. 🙂

We checked out two other books also by Micklethwait, A Child’s Book of Art: Great Pictures – First Words
and A Child’s Book of Art: Discover Great Paintings
. These are fun too, with great big prints of famous paintings surrounded by smaller vignettes explaining the different pieces of the paintings. For example, in one spread on Winslow Homer’s “The Fog Warning” you see the full picture, with little notes about how the artist used colors to tell us about the weather and water conditions, why the boat’s stern is low (weighed down with the halibut he caught, plus a wave under the bow), and so forth. Then there are close-ups of some of the parts of the painting, with questions about why the fisherman is rowing so hard, what is he looking at, and other things. You can spend a lot of time on each painting, or just read the big print and skip the little details. I kind of let Hannah decide how much she wants to know – there are some paintings she wants to linger over and others she doesn’t like as much. It’s interesting to see what catches her attention.

There are several other books in the library by this author, which we will probably check out when/if we get bored of these.

Do you have any favorite children’s books that deal with music and art?

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