Friday, March 4, 2016

ReadItDaddy's First Book of the Week - Week Ending 4th March 2016 - "MIro's Magic Animals" by Antony Penrose (Thames and Hudson)

Surreal and superb illustrations and a fascinating glimpse into the world of one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th Century. Our first Book of the Week this week is "Miro's Magic Animals" by Antony Penrose...
Joan Miro's art was described by my old art tutor as "An acquired taste". He wasn't a fan, but then again if you start to get into an argument with anyone over what constitutes art you could well be there all day!

Children, thankfully, are far more ready to accept the core concepts behind an artist's vision and their explanation of their art.

Antony Penrose's new book "Miro's Magic Animals" is a wonderful and quite personal look at the works and life of Joan Miro. Miro was a family friend of Penrose's parents, and often visited them at their home. This smartly dressed gent seemed completely at odds with his work but his imagination was a great inspiration to the young Penrose, as was Miro's love of animals.

It's great to see this book showing what today's children think of Miro's art, as a selection of children draw their own interpretations of the creatures found in some of the paintings Miro was most famous for.

Miro's gorgeous swirly creature creations and the man himself at work
Perhaps one of the reasons this was such a big hit with Charlotte is because to her, here is an artist who's allowed to break away from the "rules" - and in general I think this is why 'Modern Art' is more readily accessible and acceptable to children than some adults.

Personally I love Miro's stark contrasting linework and inventive use of colour, and his imaginative way of interpreting his subjects.

Young Antony Penrose with his father, at Farley Farm. 
Once again it's great to find a book that introduces children to the world of art in such an effective and absorbing way. Part flight of fancy, part history book and a wonderful and rather personal insight into an artist who children might not have encountered before.

Miro and the famous anthropologist Desmond Morris get to grips with a new friend at London Zoo


Charlotte's favourite bit: Seeing all the children's art and their own versions of Miro's amazing animal creations.

Daddy's favourite bit: Chock full of interesting anecdotes and insights into this amazing artist's life, and the early life of Penrose himself. Thoroughly fascinating stuff!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Thames and Hudson)

"Miro's Magic Animals"

Written by Anthony Penrose

Published by Thames and Hudson

Publication Date: 21st March 2016

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