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  • Book Review: 13 Art Sculptures Children Should Know @Prestel_UK

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    December 27th, 2011mardixonCulture, Literacy

    This book starts with a powerful question:

     What is a sculpture?

    Then it goes on to state:

    ‘The word ‘sculpture’ comes from the Latin word ‘sculpere,’ which means ‘to chisel’ or ‘to carve’.

    13 Art Sculptures  Children Should Know is 45 pages of international sculptures that you may or may not have heard of but each holds an interesting aspect to it which is why the Children should know them.  This book is more geared to Children (as opposed to 13 Art Inventions Children Should Know) but still best for 7+.  The sculptures themselves each have an interesting story or history.

    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 Sculpture: Title, Artist, Date, Location, Material, Size and Style.   Below that is additional information as appropriate.  This could be a fun fact, interesting tidbit, etc.   For example, the sculpture title Giant Toothpaste Tube the author ask if the tube looks like a person lying down.  This thought-provoking statement forces the reader to really look at the sculpture again in a different light.

    Very colourful pictures also help with the comprehension and importance of the sculpture.  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, Cloud Gate in Chicago you’re asked to take a camera out into your town or street and look for reflective surfaces.

    The sculptures are described 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 Sculptures are:

    • Winged Victory of Samothrace: Marble, in the Louvre Paris
    • Shrine of the Three Kings: Oak wood with precious stones. Cologne Cathedral
    • Dancing Ganesha:  Red Sandstone, Met Museum of Art, NY
    • Great Buddha of Kamakura: Bronze, Kotoku-in, Japan
    • David: Marble, Florence
    • Fountain of the Four Rivers:  Travertine marble, Piazza Navona, Rome
    • The Burghers of Callais: Cast bronze, Town square, Calais
    • Mbala Mask: Wood, raffle, paint, Museum Rietberg, Zurich
    • Endless Column: cast iron with metal coating, Targu Jiu, Romania
    • Giant Toothpaste Tube: Canvas, metal, polyester, kapok, Cleveland Museum of Art
    • Spiral Jetty: Basalt rock, Great Salt Lake USA
    • Stravinky Fountain: Aluminium, steel, asphalt paint, Paris
    • Cloud Gate: Stainless Steel, Millennium Park, Chicago
    • Glossary

    Each sculpture is unique in it’s own right and there is just enough information provided to warrant it’s placement in the book without going too over the top.  The sculptures chosen are varied in material, placement and size but all have the one key ingredient:  they are three dimensional.

    4.5 out of 5 stars for this book.

    Prestel Books

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3 responses to “Book Review: 13 Art Sculptures Children Should Know @Prestel_UK” RSS icon

  • I’ve always been put off this series by the “children should know” part – it sounds a bit patronising/pushy to me – “well, they should know this, but they don’t, do they?”. Not sure if that is fair, but that was my first reaction on seeing the books in a gallery shop.

    Is that fair? And more importantly, is the content in any way patronising?

    • I can see where you’re coming from but it’s not saying what they Should Know as in a demand, it’s more of if they are going to learn sculptures or artists, these are the best examples that they could learn. The content is the complete opposite of patronizing, in fact, I’ve pointed out in some of the books I found it a bit advanced for ‘kids’ unless with someone who could translate if needed.

      The books are a wonderful, but oh so delicate balance of educational and exceptionally fun ways to introduce new art and artists to children (a term I consider to be 8+ with this series).

      • Thanks – glad you don’t think I’m being completely stupid, and even happier that the books don’t follow through with that fear!


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