Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Travel the World: England: Dan's Angel
Sturgis, Alexander. 2003. Dan's Angel: A Detective's Guide to the Language of Paintings. Illustrated by Lauren Child. (Published by Kane/Miller.)
Art appreciation. That's what this little book is all about. Mostly. Dan is a young boy who loves a good mystery. Loves being a detective. One day, by chance, he wanders into the art museum. He seems to be awed and a little overwhelmed with all the paintings he sees. He thinks they must tell stories, but he's not sure how to "read" the stories in the paintings. Luckily, he won't be alone on his journey. He first meets the angel Gabriel who steps right out of his painting--"The Annunciation" by Fra Angelico. Gabriel will act as his tour guide and together they will explore the stories of twelve paintings. (Eleven if you don't count "The Annunciation.") By having this dialogue--noting his observations out loud, asking questions, listening, etc.--he is able to grasp the stories of each painting. Other artworks examined include: Belshazzar's Feast by Rembrandt; Andromeda and Perseus by Piero di Cosimo; Madonna and Child with Saints by Campin; The Judgement of Paris by Lorrain; Devi Battles Buffalo Demon Mahisha; The Marquessa de Pontejos by de Goya; Soap Bubbles by Chardin; Venus and Mars by Botticelli; Sunflowers by van Gogh; Weeping Woman by Picasso; and Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist) by Pollock.
Overall, I liked it. Definitely one for older kids rather than younger.