Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Jumbo Book of Outdoor Art

The Jumbo Book of Outdoor Art

Irene Luxbacher
Nonfiction Art Book
For ages 9 to 12
Kids Can Press, 2006   ISBN: 978-1553376804

Usually when people think of going to art school they see themselves going to an indoor art classroom. With this book in hand you can take your art lessons outdoors, and you are going to be surprised at how many wonderful things there are outdoors that can be turned into works of art. Inspiration surrounds you in parks and gardens, on beaches, and in the woods.

The author begins her "wild" art adventure by suggesting that young artists start collecting things from nature that they find interesting. Did you see a pretty pebble by a stream or an interesting piece of bark lying in the woods? Pick it up and take it home, and you will soon have a diverse collection of materials that you can use to create all kinds of works of art. Of course, you need to be safe as you explore the outdoors, and you need to respect the environment when you collect things from nature.

After this introduction, the book is divided into four sections. They are "Digging Deep," "Going Green," "It's all elemental," and "Fertile Ground." Each section begins with an inventory of tools that the author uses to make the projects in that section. In "Digging Deep," young artists make things that involve digging or things that are underground. Make a gnome or troll with clay, create sparkling gems, or draw a "cavernous" cave using a variety of materials.

In the "Going green" section young artists move above ground as they learn how to make topiaries, flower prints, mini gardens, and more.

This delightful book will delight youngsters who enjoy making things with their hands. The author's directions are easy to follow and wonderfully entertaining and inspirational. Children will see how they can use her ideas to create something that is all their own. They will be amazed that a jar, some sand, a rock, and a few other items can become something that is beautiful and interesting. With delightful illustrations and plenty of photographs, the author shows her audience what they can make using ?ingredients' from nature.