Review of the Day: Art This Way by Tamara Shopsin and Jason Fulford
This sneaky little book started doing its job before I hardly opened it. The first work of art, seen through a rectangular die cut on the book's front cover, looks the same whether you're seeing it right side up or upside down. When opened, the title page contains text that is all upside down, forcing the reader to flip the book and see the artwork in a different (but the same!) way. (Or, if you're like me, you'll open and close and flip and turn the book a few times until you realize that, yes, you did it right the first time.)
"Walk around, open up, look down, and up and in and out, look close, look behind, and keep looking."
Once you make it past that tricky funhouse of a first page turn, these are the directions given to the reader who opens this book. The text reappears in small portions ("Look down, Look up") throughout the board book, accompanying different works of art, creating a variation on a theme of looking. For example, the spread that asks the reader to look up and look down has two opposing flaps--one that flips up and one that flips (you guessed it) down. The artwork hidden beneath each flap corresponds to each suggested way of looking. Looking down, the reader finds a photograph of a child sitting on the sidewalk, taken from above; looking up, the reader lifts the flap to find a hanging sculpture, viewed best from below. Such thoughtful curation and display of the artwork in this little board book makes it equal parts whimsical and elevated. Die cuts, fold outs, and flaps invite young readers to look at Art This Way and that way and every-which-way.
From the creators of A Pile of Leaves, Find Colors, and These Colors Are Bananas, this little book would happily find its way onto a shelf for the child who loves interactive texts like Press Here and Mix It Up! by Hervé Tullet. The media curated from the Whitney Museum collection includes photography, sculpture, screen prints, and lithographs from male and female artists alike. Featured artists include Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Alexander Calder, and Marisol, all listed alongside their pieces on the final spread in the board book.
In its truest form, this little book serves as a field guide for a family trip to the museum; it's even appropriately labeled a "museum-in-a-book" on its back cover. Bold, bright, and playful, Art This Way encourages not only looking carefully but looking again.
Source: Deborah Sloan & Co. provided this book for a fair and honest review.