Walker and Company: NY, 1997.
Mallat has co-written and drawn the illustrations for her first book. Based on the idea of The House That Jack Built, Mallat constructs a picture bit by bit using seven basic elements of art - color, line, shape, form, shading, patterns, and texture - adding on each element as she continues. As a homeschool teacher, I love that she demonstrates the steps of creating her work, the layers of her creation.
She starts with the paper, and each turn of the page focuses on the next element in her drawing. The names of the elements are images resembling their meanings. The illustrations show the steps in her drawing process. It is fun, instructional, and enlightening to watch the picture unfold. As the drawing proceeds, the pages are bright and more appealing. Then, you see the whole picture and can single out the smaller areas that were spotlighted during the drawing process.
The last portion is definitions and discussion of the elements of art.
Another plus of the book is the language that is used along with the demonstrating of the elements. It is interesting and straight to the point.
In researching, I noticed a review on Amazon that says the book does not work for its intent - teaching the elements. I disagree. As a homeschool teacher, I would use this book for a range of ages. For the younger ones, to enjoy and to understand the first elements. As they get older they will understand the others better. Plus, I believe children can understand them with a one-on-one approach. Some might need to actually see the layering process happening but not all of them. The review also says older kids would be bored with the text. Maybe, maybe not. After all, as an adult, I was not bored.
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