New art book for children to explore Matisse

Looking at art books is extremely important in early childhood and can help develop children’s abilities in the arts as well as strengthen parent-child bonds. Going to the museum is not always easy with young children, so art books are a great alternative. I recently reviewed a book about Miro’ which I enjoyed reading with my 9 year old son Diego who has been exposed to art since he was a baby and has developed the ability to recognise beautiful things when he sees them. Now a new book has just been published about another one of my favourite contemporary artists: Henri Matisse. It’s called Blue & Other Colours with Henri Matisse (published by Phaidon RRP £6.95, Board Book, aimed at children in the age group 1-3).

matisse book for kids

The amazing lesson from Matisse is that even against all odds you can create great artwork. When he created these cut-outs paintings he was in the final stages of his career and was bound in bed with physical problems. This is when he began ‘carving into colour’ and confirmed his reputation as one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.

Inspired by a recent exhibition at London’s Tate Modern ‘Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs’, which was the most popular exhibition in the museum’s history, Blue & Other Colours introduces colours to young readers through the cut-outs of Henri Matisse, from the iconic The Parakeet and the Mermaid (1952) to smaller studies.

Henri Matisse’s abstract cut-outs are used to teach colours in this read-aloud board book for early learners. The child will explore Matisse’s colour palette, one artwork per page, beginning with blue and returning to it as a familiar refrain throughout. While playfully learning about colours, the reader is introduced to a selection of studies including the vivid spray of leaves in The Sheaf (1953), and The Tomato (1947), a vibrant composition in green, red and white with splashes of purple.

The variety of shapes, depth and scale in Matisse’s cut-outs will keep toddlers engaged, while the text enriches the reading experience with relatable and humorous commentary. The book includes a read-aloud ‘about the artist’ section at the end.

The book will appeal to art-enthusiast parents and those eager to introduce their child to art at a very young age.

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