"If Picasso Went To The Zoo" is by award winning art teacher Eric Gibbons, and illustrated by 50 art teachers from all over the world. Each art teacher chose an artist from history and emulated an animal in their style. This unique book uses poetry and images to teach children about art, history, literature (rhyme and alliteration), zoology, biology, animal conservation, and world cultures. Each poem teaches about that artist from renaissance to modern genres, and each animal has a leaf underneath that indicates if the animal is thriving, threatened, endangered, or even extinct. This book is distributed nation wide via SPU (Small Press United). Available in English, Chinese, and Spanish.
If Picasso Went to the Zoo
Title: If Picasso Went to the Zoo
Author: Eric Gibbons
Illustrators: 50 Art Teachers
Publisher: Firehouse Publications
“If Picasso went to the zoo, is this the kind of painting he’d do?” Eric Gibbons questions at the beginning of his book.
~ What ~
This one-hundred-and-twenty-eight-page paperback targets children ages five to seven years old but adults will thoroughly enjoy its contents. With no scary scenes, fifty artists’ designs are portrayed on the left side of the pages while the right sides have poems regarding the genre of art styles with educational information about animals that are at zoos. The ending has small depictions of the artworks with the artists’ names and websites.
From notables such as Bosch, Warhol, Dali, Rembrandt, and Wyeth to lesser known Albright, Calder, Blair, and Tanning to name a few, current-day artists mimic their format, creating like-designs resembling zoo animals such as elephants, pigs, monkeys, seagulls, or turtles.
~ Why ~
In this engaging book, art is blended with viewing animals while reading about them as they relate to well-known artists. As a painter, I value how an artist portrays their vision to the canvas or medium. With each page having a rhyme regarding the artist and a zoo animal, the reader gets absorbed into the design. It was thoughtful to include “leaf codes” at the bottom corners regarding endangerment or extinction.
My favorites were Escher’s patterns of egrets that discussed the artist’s real name, his love of math, and how the bird is threatened because of their plumes. Another well-designed one was Seurat’s scene that includes seals and the artist’s fascination with dashes and dots.
~ Why Not ~
If you do not like learning about famous artists, their design styles, or zoo animals, you may want to pass on this book, but you would be missing out on an informative, creative read.
~ Who ~
AENJ award-winning art educator, artist, and inventor, Gibbons has been featured in international exhibits in Japan and Egypt. He lives in New Jersey.
~ Wish ~
It would be helpful to have a thumbnail pictures of the famous artists’ works below the poems to show the correlation to the similar artist, but it would take time to get publishing authorizations.
~ Want ~
If you like learning about well-known artists and their styles as well as animals and their habitats and characteristics, this is a creative, educational book.
Thanks to Bookpleasures and the author for offering this book to review for my honest opinion.
This review will be posted on the Bookpleasures and Amazon with links onBookfun.org, Godinterest, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.
By Grady Harp
Amazon HALL OF FAME
Amazon TOP 100 REVIEWER
For those who have the good fortune to own (and have shared!) Eric Gibbon's unique art instruction book IF PICASSO HAD A CHRISTMAS TREE - a book that is in the bookstores in most every quality art museum store across the country - this new book will be an immediate favorite.
Working from the same perspective of asking 50 art teachers to select an artist and an animal that is in that artist's visual vocabulary, Eric has created a book of full color reproductions of the art created by these gifted teachers and matched that with charming rhyming poetry that talks about the artist, the animal, and the contributions of the artist honored in a manner that makes this a true art history book.
Eric sets the pace with the cover and the first entry - his version of Picasso going to the zoo painting polar bear ladies - suggestive of his famous painting `Les Demoiselles d'Avignon. The bears are painted with suggestions of cubism and it works very well. Other artists/art teachers from all over the country - from every ethnic background and from both female and male - share artists of like variety of male and female artists of as varied countries and ethnicity as their emulators.
The works of Georgia O'Keefe, Hundertwasser, Seurat, Klee, Bearden, Mary Blair, van Eyck, Alice Baber, Magritte, Tamayo, Harriet Powers, Duchamp. Bosch, Arcimboldo, Basquiat and on and on are all interpreted in the zoological field with excellent technique and a nice dash of humor.
Not only is this project Eric Gibbons' excellent idea, the book gives him the opportunity to demonstrate the depth of art history he shares! Terrific poetry that is informed and entertaining fills this delightful book. Highly recommended for teachers, parents and kids of all ages. Grady Harp, August 15
(This review appears on Vine Voice & Goodreads)