A trip to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles can be an enjoyable experience for many an adult. And, although as parents we all want to introduce our kids to the world of art, it can be challenging to really engage some kids as they wander aimlessly around statues, portraits, furniture and other pieces of art work that appear meaningless to them.
How can you help your kids to relate? While colors and shapes may initially draw the attention of a child, maintaining it long enough to learn a fact or two may be tough to do.
So here is a tip. Heighten your child's curiosity by previewing the artwork, vocabulary and engaging story lines about what life was like during the times you'll be visiting by reading a storybook together. A good story can open their imagination and spark their curiosity. Parisian manuscripts from the 1400's can be unappealing or even boring to your child. That is, unless you show them how a child like them learned to actually paint these beautiful pieces.
Marguerite makes a Book by Bruce Robertson and beautifully illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt is a wonderful book about the many stages of creating manuscripts. A master piece of illustration, children are introduced to life in Paris around 1400 to 1425. Kids will get a glimpse of what homes, roads and towns actually looked like, how people traveled and the roles of both the common worker and the nobility.
Readers will actually travel about town with Marguerite as they learn where parchments came from and how the incredible colors were actually created out of plants, roots and color filled stones. Did you know that eggs were mixed with paint to thicken the liquids? And that ink was a solution of soot and glue mixed together and applied by a goose feather quill? I guess I didn't.
And when you are finished reading your child has been introduced to so much more than how to create a manuscript. The final pages include a glossary of technical terms and an invitation to go and see Parisian manuscripts in the Getty that were created in the early 1400's using the very process that they have just learned about. The people they read about, the roads they travelled and the stories from long ago are captured in the artwork that fills the many pages of these Parisian manuscripts.
And won't it all look so much more meaningful once your children have read this lovely book together with you?