At our last visit to the library Kate was disappointed to discover that they didn’t have any ‘Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?’ DVDs on the shelf. (Do you remember that geography-sleuth kids’ gameshow on TV in the late 80s with the catchy intro song by the group, Rockapella? These are the cartoons along the same story lines.) So, I told her that when we got home we would get online and request them via intralibrary loan. While I was online looking for her DVDs, I ran across this book that I thought sounded really promising.  (I’m not really sure why I felt the need to tell you all that, unless I really just wanted to share with the world what a geek I was in the late 80s and still am, apparently, since I can still sing some of that theme song to this day…)

Where in the World? Around the Globe in 13 Works of Art, by Bob Raczka, has turned out to be my newest favorite book for Kate. It’s a collection of 13 works of art from around the world (duh, you probably got all that from the title) with a page describing the geographical location of the piece as well as the artist and the time he/she lived in. It’s written for kids, so the language isn’t a stumbling block but, thankfully, it’s not sing-songy either.

Since I’m planning on using the Charlotte Mason approach for homeschooling, this fits in PERFECTLY with her idea of picture study (which is just studying pieces of artwork). In fact, I can even see us making a color copy of the page with the artwork and hanging it on the fridge for a week or two as we discuss it and enjoy it and describe it to one another before moving on to the next piece of artwork in the book. Oh, and here’s another idea – after studying that piece of artwork hanging on the fridge, move it into the schoolroom and tack it on the giant map on the wall onto the country it represents. One could even put it on a timeline as many of the pieces span centuries of art.

But, the best part has been Kate’s reaction to it. As soon as we sat down and started reading about the first piece of artwork by Katsushika Hokusai from late 1700s Japan, Kate was spellbound. Of course, it helps that one of the things about Hokusai was that he loved art from the age of, you guessed it, FIVE. As soon as I read that, Kate interrupted me and said with a twinkle of excitement in her eye, “Mommy! I’m five. And I like art, too!”

At the end of the reading, the author includes the last words of Hokusai:

“If heaven gives me ten more years, or an extension of even five years, I shall surely become a true artist.”

Kate looked at me and said quite seriously, “But, he IS a true artist.” To which she added, “Mommy, I’m sad that he died. Because I would like to meet him and learn more about art from him.” This. From a five year old. Wow.

Kate is excited to read tomorrow night about Little Bay, Australia and the artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude. And the next night about Tahiti and Paul Gauguin. And before we finish our ‘world tour’, I may have just learned a few things about art, too!

Oh, and BTW, Bob Razcka has written SEVERAL books around art.  I think I want them all!! 🙂