Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Renoir: Art Activity Pack

Renoir: Art Activity Pack

Mila Boutan
Novelty Craft Kit
For ages 6 to 10
Chronicle Books, 1997   ISBN: 978-0811816908

Imagine being able to take a stroll through the paintings of Renoir, of being able to enjoy looking at beautiful landscapes, people, and being able to absorb the atmosphere of happiness that surrounds everything that you see. When you open the glossy, beautifully presented folder of this kit you will find yourself in a position to do just this. Inside the kit there is a book, a poster and an "Artist's Notebook." In the book the reader will find a description of Renoir's work and his life; the notebook is full of interesting projects that you can try for oneself; and the poster offers the reader the opportunity to try creating a work of art in the style of Renoir.

In the book in this kit we learn that Renoir was an Impressionist and like many of the other painters of his type he liked to paint in the outdoors. One of the qualities that Renoir sought to capture was to portray happy, bright, cheerful and colourful scenes. Renoir wanted to create paintings that were both "happy and pretty" and the text goes a long way to explaining how he achieved this. We are also given a very interesting biography of Renoir's life which describes his life as a painter, the people and places that influenced his work, and the people who were important to him

The next item to explore in the kit is the "Artist's Notebook." In this booklet the author asks her reader to explore Renoir's art not just by looking at the wonderful reproductions of his paintings but by trying some drawing oneself.

Finally there is a poster to color or paint. The reader is given an outline of one of Renoir's famous painting characters - a girl holding a water can - and only the outline. It is up to the reader to fill in the outline with lots of colour and "points of light" in the style of Renoir.

This wonderful hands-on activity pack is one of a series which was developed in conjunction with the well known museum of Impressionist art, the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.