My Big Book of the World’s Greatest Art

Prestel. Oct. 2019. 52p. Tr $19.95. ISBN 9783791373959.
Gr 3-6–This title invites readers to learn about the history of art from ancient civilization to the present. Each era spans two double-page spreads containing historical examples and a summary of key themes and trends. The text assumes an understanding of architectural and political terms and a basic familiarity with art techniques. The book focuses on Western works, although other cultures are occasionally represented. The illustrations are rendered solely in shades of yellow, green, pink, and blue in a screen-print style. However, while the book is an interesting contribution, it is lacking in several ways. The illustration style makes the chosen artworks difficult to recognize, especially for children who are not likely to be familiar with many of them. The inaccessible nature of the text will leave most readers in the target demographic unable to grasp the book’s message. Finally, the claim that this book represents the “world’s greatest art” is short-sighted because so few of the world’s cultures are represented.
VERDICT This is a title with a limited purpose in art instruction. Most young readers would be better served by collections like DK’s The Arts: A Visual Encyclopedia.

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