Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Look Closer: A Lift-the-Flap Art Adventure

Look Closer: A Lift-the-Flap Art Adventure

Caroline Desnoettes
Nonfiction Novelty Book
For ages 8 and up
Walker, 2006   ISBN: 978-0802796141

We are going to take a journey through time from the 14th century to the late 20th century and we are not going to look at history per se. Instead we are going to look at the art that was created during this time. Of course art is always greatly influenced by the historic events which are unfolding at the time of its creation but it is important to remember that the reverse is also true - that art can influence history.

We begin our journey by looking at a painting which was created in the early 1400's by Jean de Limbourg. It is one of the paintings that was created for a book called "The Very Rich Hours of the Duke of Berry." The illumination is picked out in gold and it portrays a hunting scene. After we have looked at the painting as a whole and at three detailed sections, we lift up a flap and unfold a page to see what lies beneath; here we find text which invites us to examine the painting further. We are also provided with information about the painting and how it was created, and under the fold out page we are given a sample of the artist's palette.

Next we move on to a painting by Jan Van Eyck which was painted sometime in the 1430's. Van Eyck's work is characterized by its attention to detail and careful execution. And then on the next double page spread we find ourselves looking at the famous Mona Lisa.

In all the author explores the history and execution of eighteen works of art and for each one she provides the reader with information about the artist, suggestions on things to look for in the paintings, and more. Young art enthusiasts will be greatly impressed by the quality of the reproductions, by the book's clever format, and by the amount of information that it holds on its thick glossy pages. At the back of the book the author provides supplementary information about the eighteen paintings in an "Art Gallery" section.