Was Jaan Vermeer a Photographer? Who is Banksy?
These are a couple of the mysteries author Angela Wenzel poses in this intriguing book by Prestel Books.
13 Art Mysteries Children Should Know is 45 pages of unsolved mysteries that date back thousands of years. This book is more geared to Children (as opposed to 13 Art Inventions Children Should Know) but still best for 7+. The mysteries themselves are interesting regardless that they are related to art!
Each page is laid out with a timeline at the top of each page to provide a placement in history. On the left column is a Fact box of the Mystery: The Mystery, dates, location, feature. Below that is additional information as appropriate. This could be a fun fact, interesting tidbit, etc. For example, in the Missing Amber Room, there is fact that ‘Amber comes in various shades of yellow, red and brown’.
Very colourful pictures also help with the comprehension of the mystery. Where appropriate, there are websites that link to more information. I really liked the website link, a bit worried that it might date itself but it will still inspire kids recognize they can research more if they chose. There are also splashes of activities sprinkled throughout the pages. For example, Goya and the Ugly Queen suggest you draw your own family and to think about how you would arrange the family members and where you’d place yourself In the painting.
The mysteries are worded to ensure new terminology is introduced while ensuring kids (with parents) would understand or ask questions. Terminology that might be confusing has an explanation in the Glossary at the back of the book. One thing I would have liked is to have the words at the bottom of the page and in the Glossary so I didn’t have to flip back and forth.
The 13 Mysteries are:
- Moses’ Ark of the Covenant
- The Riddle of Apelles
- What Did Jesus Really Look Like?
- Jan van Eyck and Oil Painting
- The World of Hieronymus Bosch
- Why is Mona Lisa Smiling
- How Did Caravaggio Die?
- Was Jan Vermeer a Photographer?
- The Missing Amber Room
- Goya and the Ugly Queen
- To Whom Did van Gogh Give His Ear?
- Surrealistic Picture Puzzles
- Who is Banksy?
Each topic is thought-provoking and the fact that it hasn’t been answered makes it even more intriguing!
5 out of 5 stars for this book.