Masterpiece Mix

illus. by Roxie Munro. 32p. reprods. Holiday House. Aug. 2017. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9780823436996.
PreS-Gr 3—Munro introduces children to fine art using a search-and-find game and a fun framing device. A fictional artist, possibly modeled after the author/illustrator herself, is gathering her tools and supplies and deciding what to paint. She considers still lifes, landscapes, portraits, sport scenes, and more. The illustrations integrate Munro's colorful ink drawings of the artist's studio and town with reproductions of famous artworks, selected from the collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, by painters such as Judith Leyster, Robert S. Duncanson, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, James Abbott McNeill Whistler, Peter Paul Rubens, and Johannes Vermeer. The ending unveils the cityscape the artist has created, which incorporates all 37 masterpieces she had previously admired. In the back matter, thumbnail descriptions of each of the masterworks yield interesting tidbits for those who delve further: Winslow Homer illustrated 13 children's books; Mary Cassatt, famous for figure painting, was barred from life drawing classes because of her gender; and Claude Monet did more than 250 paintings of the same pond. This simple story covering the basics of painting and drawing—materials, subject matter, and art history—can be absorbed in a few minutes by preschoolers, but the searching game and the intricacy of the artwork lend themselves to more thorough investigation by older children and those with longer attention spans.
VERDICT Recommended as a versatile introduction to fine art for elementary schoolers.

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