Children’s Book Briefs
Romina’s Rangoli. Malathi Michelle
Iyengar, illustrated by Jennifer
Wanardi. Fremont, CA: Shens
Books, 2007. Illus., hardcover, 32
Romina has to make a school project that reflects her heritage, but
she struggles to find a way to portray both her father’s Indian culture
and her mother’s Mexican culture.
She solves the problem by creating
an artwork that reflects the Indian
folk art tradition of rangoli floor
designs and the Mexican folk art of
papel picado, or cut paper. Find out
how she arrives at this blending of
traditions, and help students appreciate the many artistic and cultural
influences they have in their own
Scandals, Vandals, and Da Vincis:
A Gallery of Remarkable Art Tales.
Harvey Rachlin. New York, NY:
Penguin, 2007. Illus., softcover, 368
Harvey Rachlin inspires and interests readers with these fascinating
tales of some of the world’s greatest artworks. He makes history
come alive with his mystery-style
writing. He tells the stories of the
theft of the Mona Lisa and the
star-crossed marriage proposal of
Christina of Denmark, Duchess of
Milan which was painted, in only
three hours, by Hans Holbein the
Younger to show King Henry VIII.
Rachlin presents the background
histories of twenty-six great artworks and makes them fascinating. Art teachers from fifth grade
through high school should find
this a lively addition to their classrooms.
Cartoon Clinic. Essential Rescue
Remedies for Drawing Great Cartoons. Ben Cormack. London: Bar-ron’s Educational Series, Inc., 2006.
Illus., softcover, 144 pp., $19.99.
In this comprehensive drawing
book, Ben Cormack guides readers
to learn about, practice, and draw
caricatures, characters, and creatures while developing knowledge
about proportion, foreshortening,
perspective, and viewpoint. Practical and easy-to-follow directions
instruct young people from ages
ten to fifteen about body types, clichés, comedy, devices, Manga, Pop
Art, satire, and basic color theory.
This book is best suited for middle
school students and those who
enjoy drawing cartoons and observing the world carefully.
—Sharon Warwick is a national art consultant for Davis Publications.
Pen and Ink with Watercolor.
George Olson. Cincinnati, Ohio:
North Light Books, 2006. Illus.,
softcover, 111 pp., $19.99.
The classic techniques of using
crow quill pen and India ink are
revived by George Olson, an architect and artist of this medium for
several decades. Three color-coded
sections provide an easy gateway to
this alluring art form, starting with
tips on creating outlines, how to
make backgrounds with reference
photographs, and basic exercises for
using pen and ink with watercolor.
Olson’s subject matter is realistic
and this guide lays a foundation
for a joyful grasp of a fundamental
style. In the age of fast-paced digital
technology, this practical method
can serve as an exercise for recording what we see with care.
Riches, Rivals, and Radicals: 100
Years of Museums in America. Mar-jorie Schwarzer. Jessup, MD: Graph-Tec, 2006. Illus., softcover, 263 pp.
This lyrical title reflects a writer
with a keen sensibility of the cultural institutions that have evolved
from cabinets of curiosities to
dominant historical landmarks.
Lesser-known facts are woven into
the text, such as highlights of 1977.
In this seminal year, Dallas built
the first downtown arts district in
the nation and Sylvester Stallone
danced on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the movie
Rocky. Both events symbolize a significant point in the establishment
of places to view objects for reflective thought. Within the changing
body of our democratic nation,
the availability and refinement of
museums as educational goldmines
accessible to all public audiences
was due not only to an effort of
philanthropic endeavor, but also
to community commitment. Art
educators and museum patrons will