School Library Journal11/01/2014
Gr 3–5—This series offers an ideal blend of excellent writing and strong historical and technical information about the materials and methods of art. It is unfortunate that there is only one woman artist featured here (Mary Cassatt), but the selection is rich in other ways. Each page includes attractive reproductions of masterpieces sprinkled with snarky cartoon commentary ("Maybe he should use more colors!" says a child on the cover of Rembrandt, studying a muddy self-portrait of the artist). The authors have skillfully interjected a tone of humor into the solid, useful information: the cartoons capture the authentic voice of young viewers, who might not immediately appreciate fine art, while the narrative voice is earnest and scholarly, pushing children toward deeper analysis. The authors excel at using concrete sensory detail to lead kids through images. If paired with a series that includes more women and artists of color, these will be valued staples.