Art Profiles for Kids Book Reviews

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Booklist, November 2009

On Raphael

Part of the Art Profiles for Kids series, which covers major artists, Mofford’s overview takes Raphael from his early life in Urbino to his triumphs in the intrigue-filled world of Renaissance Rome. There are always gaps in our knowledge of Renaissance artists, and Mofford does a good job of separating verified facts from speculation. Despite the relatively small format, the book packs in a lot of information, although young readers may find the lack of white space on each page burdensome. Pictures of some of his most familiar works are included, and though the reproductions don’t pop off the pages, they are at least prevalent. The back matter, including copious chapter notes, provides good gateways for further reading. Although the page count is relatively low, this is for an older, report-oriented audience.

Booklist, January 2008

On Pierre-Auguste Renoir

From the Art Profiles for Kids series, this book introduces the life and work of Renoir. Though the book is relatively short, the text is smoothly written, and quotes from the artist convey a sense of his personality. The glossy pages allow for good reproductions of paintings as well as a few photos; however, most of the illustrations are small. Back matter includes a glossary, chronology, chapter notes for quotes, lists of books and Internet sites, and a “Timeline in History.” Though other books on library shelves are better choices for looking at reproductions of Renoir’s paintings, this one offers a concise, readable account of the artist’s life.

School Library Journal, January 2008

On Canaletto and Vincent van Gogh

These books offer well-documented information for teens doing reports. Each volume covers the painter’s childhood, training, travels, influences, and historical context. The chronological chapters build a survey of the artists’ oeuvres, including the style and subject matter of their works and past and present critical reaction. Introductory chapters are designed to draw readers in with a character or anecdote, e.g., the sale of van Gogh’s Portrait of Dr. Gachet for $82.5 million in 1990 and its subsequent disappearance. One-page “FYI” sections offer expanded coverage of selected topics. Of the two titles, Canaletto is more challenging to read as Rice’s language is more sophisticated than Whiting’s. To his credit, Whiting defines subject-specific terms in context, provides pronunciation tips, and explains potentially unfamiliar events or people. Van Gogh covers much of the same material found in Jen Green’s Vincent van Gogh (Watts, 2002); it allows easier access to bits of information than Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan’s Vincent van Gogh (Delacorte, 2001). Compact, well-researched overviews of important figures in the history of art.