Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Picasso's Trousers by Nicholas Allan (Red Fox Picture Books)

When children's books are at their very best, they spur your child on to find out more about their subject matter.

We love Nicholas Allan's cheeky homage to Her Majesty (in The Queen's Knickers) and Cinderella (in Cinderella's Bum) but for Picasso's Trousers, he tones down his cheeky schoolboy side for a book that opens a child's mind to the world of art.

Now Charlotte is beginning to read, books like "Picasso's Trousers" are brilliant. They don't overcook the text, they use repetition in a way that engages and helps the book and the subject to really stick fast in their inquisitive little minds, and the effect is dazzling - as were the questions this book prompted.

"Who was Picasso, Daddy?" We looked at Nicholas Allan's homages and choices of Picasso artworks to include in the book (big nod of approval from me too!) We talked about why some of Picasso's paintings look dazzling and realistic, while others look almost child-like.

Best of all though, I could dust down some of my big fat Taschen art books and show her more Picasso works, and more works by other artists who (I secretly hope) one day she'll come to adore just as I do, and in fact just as Mr Allan does himself!

There are a lot of brilliant books that gently introduce children to the sometimes complicated and always fascinating world of art but this is easily one of the most approachable and satisfying we've seen.

Charlotte's best bit: "The Heavy Lady, she's beautiful!" and shouting "No, No Picasso!" and "Yes Yes!" at the top of her voice. Superb!

Daddy's favourite bit: You can feel Nicholas Allan's admiration for the great man seeping from every page. Lovely characterisations of Picasso, beautiful fold out (and lift-the-flap) pages, a top notch introduction to the world of art from someone who knows how to speak the right language to children.

(Kindly supplied to us for review by Red Fox Picture Books)