Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Monet and the Impressionists for Kids: Their Lives and Ideas

Monet and the Impressionists for Kids: Their Lives and Ideas

Carol Sabbeth
For ages 9 to 12
Chicago Review Press, 2002   ISBN: 978-1556523977

Let's take a journey back in time to a world when artists were expected to paint in a certain way and when new styles were frowned upon. It is the 1880's and a group of painters who came to be called the Impressionists were creating works of art which were completely unique and different. In their paintings images were often vague and gave the viewer an "impression" of a scene or a person. The paintings were completely unlike the darker and highly detailed paintings which most people considered to be "real" art at that time. These new paintings, which were full of light, color and movement were scoffed at. Art critics did not like the fact that the painters chose to show everyday scenes in their artwork and that often the scenes were of the outdoors. We where those serious, dark and carefully executed pieces that the critics were so fond of?

For the Impressionists, this form of painting was too confining and they painted with more vigor, less exactitude, and more passion. The result was startling and to the modern eye, the creations of Claude Monet, Pierre August Renoir, Edgar Degas, Mary Cassat, Paul Cezanne, Paul Gauguin, and Georges Seurat are truly delightful. The paintings these people created are also highly valued today and fetch enormous sums in sales and auctions.

In this fascinating and cleverly presented book readers will not only get to explore the lives and work of some of the world's most famous Impressionist painters, but they will also learn about the era in which these people lived. The pages are packed with beautifully reproduced copies of Impressionist paintings and drawings, and lots of informative boxes about the painting world, its people, and painting techniques. Better still readers will find that there are twenty-one activities spread out throughout the book which will encourage them to stretch their own creative muscles in many different and often surprising ways.

This book includes a timeline – which can be found at the beginning of the book – and at the back of the title the reader will find a glossary, a bibliography, and an index.