Kids’ Book Review | Vincent’s Starry Sky and Other Stories: A Children’s History of Art

With schools going back tomorrow we have a couple of weeks to try and get our houses back in some sort of order before the Easter break begins. Although it does not seem like long, as the kids have not been used to the school environment for months, they will no doubt find themselves tired and maybe even a bit overwhelmed. Therefore the Easter holidays can be used to just let them relax and play. Hopefully the weather will be bright and cheer the soul but for days when being indoors and chilling is the order of the day, I can highly recommend Vincent’s Starry Night and Other Stories.

Vincent’s Starry Night and Other Stories is not your usual history of art book. It is laid out chronologically but the art is explained using short stories which children can dip in and out of. Over the last Half Term I had the kids chose a piece of art they liked the look of. I then read them the story, and more often than not it lead to a chat about it and sometimes an activity followed.

From making up poems by picking cut out words randomly from a magazine like the artist Kurt Schwitters (the boys loved this as the nonensical sentences made them giggle continuously), to building a house of cards to mimic the sitter in Jean-Simeon Chardin’s portrait of a young boy, to painting their versions of Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”, there are little prompts which can be found in all the stories.

Now, I have to admit, I love art so have a keen interest in this book, but I feel that it can have a place in most children’s bookcases. The short stories mean it can be picked up at any time. If relaxation is the order of the day, just read a story or two, or if their imaginations are sparked, follow up with an activity – as simple or as involved as attention spans and time allow.

The artists are varied, from the primitive works tens of thousands of years ago through to the Renaissance, on through to the dreamlike Impressionists and ending with modern art of this century. There is bound to be a piece of art to capture any child.

Vincent’s Starry Night and Other Stories is not only a beautiful addition to a child’s library but can open p a whole new world of imaginations nd creativity in any little one.

You can find Vincent’s Starry Night and Other Stories here.

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