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the art book for children

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‘A real gem … If only […]  all art books were so much fun.’

The Independent

Praise for The Art Book for Children:


'A perfect introduction to art for parents and children to enjoy together…Simple, clear and fun.' (Guardian)


'A delightful book that will encourage readers, young and old, to see beyond the obvious.' (The Good Book Guide)


'The ideal book to introduce children to the great painters, as well as more contemporary artists.' (Junior)


'Phaidon's The Art Book For Children (£12.95) is also a real gem. Next to an illustration of Gilbert and George's famous living sculpture, it asks, "would you be able to keep a straight face?" whilst demanding to know of Christo's Pont Neuf Wrapped, "who allowed Christo and Jeanne-Claude to wrap this famous Parisian bridge in fabric? Did they sneak up one night while no one was looking?" If only, one can't help thinking, all art books were so much fun.' (The Independent)

'Stylish, welcoming introduction to art, covering an amazing range of artists from Leonardo to Gilbert and George. The book is bursting with exuberant questions (how do you paint feelings?) and determined to open young eyes and minds.' (Observer)

'The Art Book For Children draws young readers first into the subject, then deftly into the form, of paintings from the Mona Lisa to Warhol's Marilyn.' (The Times)

'...It is stylish, and exciting without being silly.' (Sunday Times Culture)

'Great fun to read…The tone is cheerfully irreverent and unpatronising.' (Glasgow Herald)

'An excellent introduction to the world's greatest artists…classy and thought-provoking.' (Daily Mail)

'This is a great book for children and parents or grandparents to enjoy together.' (Carlisle News & Star)


'Phaidon's child-friendly version of its staggeringly successful The Art Book goes into far more detail than the original. Instead of a one-artist-to-a-page format, double-page spreads are devoted to 30 works from the fifteenth-century to the present, allowing for a wealth of related imagery. Obviously designed to fire young imaginations into looking beyond the frame, the template would improve many 'ground-up' art encyclopaedias...designed to spark creative responses in young readers of all ages, whether their thing is painting and drawing, counting, dressing up or solving puzzles. There's even the possibility that, sitting side by side with their respective tomes, kids might learn more than their parents will about the subject.' (Time Out)

'Is it possible that a nine-year-old child will nag their parents to read them a book about the adventures of Gilbert & George, Cindy Sherman and Leonardo da Vinci rather than the latest Jacqueline Wilson or Harry Potter? If it is written with the style, humour and spirit of this mind expanding art book for kids, then the answer is definitely yes...it's really good fun and perfect for junior school kids into art - and any parent scared off by the usual pretentious approach to art appreciation...very inspiring. Your kids will be making Jackson Pollock-style creations out of mashed potato and ketchup on the kitchen ceiling before you know it.' (Guardian)

'Should become a childhood treasure… Hopefully, the delight gained from peering into such large and beautiful reproductions, as well as the enlightenment gained from a text that respects the reader's own response, will encourage children to carry a love of art with them into adulthood.' (RA [Royal Academy of Arts], London Magazine)

'As a catalyst for discussions about everything and anything, many parents will find this a wonderful book to share with their child from a far younger age [than 7+]...this book asks children to consider colour, form, texture and pattern alongside far deeper questions, such as can you paint noise or feelings? With beautiful reproductions and stimulating prompts, it's a book you'll return to again and again.' (Junior)

Gilda Williams is co-author of The Art Book for Children (Phaidon, 2005), winner of the English Association Non-Fiction Children’s Book of the Year award. The Art Book for Children has been translated into ten languages worldwide.


The Art Book for Children offers guide to 30 great artists and their most famous works, from Leonardo's Mona Lisa to Andy Warhol's Marilyn, and from Jeff Koons' exuberant, flower-encrusted Puppy to Grant Wood's severe American Gothic.

The Art Book for Children encourages children of all ages, from seven upwards, to look closely and use their imagination to understand why artists choose to create the work they do and in the way that they do it. Van Gogh, Matisse, Rembrandt, Turner and Velazquez are all here, but The Art Book for Children also offers its readers an introduction to challenging recent artists including Cindy Sherman and Donald Judd.