Art & Architecture

Explore 360° Pompeii With Extraordinary Book and

Targeted Audience: Upper Elementary & Middle School (Ages 8-14)
•        Genre: Fiction Picture Book
•        Author: Peter Chrisp
•        3D Illustrator: Somchith Vongprachanh
•        Publisher: Barron’s Educational Series
•        Publication Date: March 12, 2015
•        Binding: Hard Cover
•        Dimensions: 10″ x 12″
•        Printing: Full Color
•        Length: 48 Pages Plus Interactive CD
•        Retail: $18.99
•        ISBN: 978-1783120994

Travel Back in time 1936 Years
Imagine traveling back in time to the prosperous Roman city of Pompeii, before it was buried under the rubble caused by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The closest thing to actually being there is reading this book and taking the 360° CD tour of many of the buildings and courtyards of this city when it was in its prime in the year 79 C.E. The people of this town all those centuries ago were not concerned about Mt. Vesuvius, for it had not erupted for 700 years. But that all changed on August 24 when Vesuvius violently exploded without warning, spewing forth gas, rocks and ash 18.5 miles. Many residents fled before it was too late, but those who could not leave quickly, perished as the great volcano erupted with pyroclastic flow on the second day, with temperatures soaring up to 752° F!

Buried and Almost Forgotten
Pompeii and other nearby cities were buried under the rubble of Vesuvius for centuries, as olive groves and vineyards covered the cities below. In 1709 a well-digger discovered marble from a theater in Pompeii’s neighboring town of Herculaneum. Uncovering that treasure resulted in a series of more discoveries until Pompeii was excavated in 1748. The book covers both the before and after destruction eras.

“It was usual to have three couches in a dining room…Places on the couches were arranged by status. The most important guest was positioned on the left side of the central couch. The host reclined on the right side of the left-had couch. The couch on the right was for the lowest ranking guests. Diners leaned on their left elbows, eating with their right hands.”

A Fascinating Lesson in History, Culture and Architecture
Explore 360° Pompeii is a gem of a book, with pages of historical facts, illustrations and amazing photographs. Each spread includes a short introduction plus text boxes that make reading fun, perfect for the age group. Some of the pages open up to glorious four page spreads that are 38 inches wide! We learn about: how Vesuvius erupted; how the city was covered with ash and forgotten for centuries; how the city is laid out; the architecture of a wealthy Roman’s house; how the wealthy entertained and dined; details about treasures found in these homes; Roman gardens; the Forum or main square in Pompeii; bars where the poor ate and where gambling took place; how cloth was manufactured in fulleries; how bakeries were set up; public baths; toilets and water supply; theaters and gladiators. Some of the facts will absolutely astound you, and the way the Romans lived 19 centuries ago was impressive.

“The first stage in cleaning cloth was to soak it in urine. This was collected in pots, left in the street for passersby to pee into. The cloth was then washed and stamped on in bronze basins containing water and fullers earth, a clay that absorbed grease.”

3D CD Tour Makes You Feel Like You’re Right There
After reading the book, pop the interactive CD into your computer for a fun and educational learning experience. What child wouldn’t love that? 3D model animations take you on a meticulously detailed tour of the ancient city Pompeii, making you feel as though you are right there. Use your mouse and arrows to view all around a room, up at the ceiling and down at the floor.  The sites featured here include the Forum, House of Faun, Baths, Amphitheater, Bar and Bakery.

“The grain was ground in tall mills made of volcanic stone. The upper stone would be turned by a pair of donkeys or mules, chained on each side. They wore blinkers over their eyes to prevent them from being distracted.”

Why You Should Buy This Outstanding Book
As a former writer for luxury cruise lines, I did my fair share of reading about Pompeii. But it wasn’t until after reading Explore 360° Pompeii that I realized I didn’t have a true grasp on what it really looked like. The quality of the book alone, including its printing, photographs and drawings should be enough to make anyone want to buy it. The text is well written, fascinating and enlightening. Then add to that the phenomenal CD offering a mesmerizing 3D interactive experience that will capture any child’s attention, and you’ve got a wonderfully unique learning experience.  How the publisher can offer all this for a mere $18.99 retail price is beyond me. It’s so important that our children learn about geography and culture, and Explore 360° Pompeii is the perfect way to do that This is not your everyday nonfiction book. Rather it is a book to be treasured and a testament to the quality and care that goes into Barron’s Educational titles to educate our children.

About the Author
Peter Chrisp is a renowned author of history books for children. He has written over 80 books, many on the topics of Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. He lives by the sea in Brighton, U.K.

My Big Art Show

Targeted Audience:  Lower & Upper Elementary (Ages 7-10)
•    Genre: Children’s Game and Art Book
•    Author: Susie Hodge
•    Publisher: Thames & Hudson
•    Publication Date: September 30, 2014
•    Binding: Box with Paperback
•    Dimensions: 9 x 6
•    Printing: Full Color
•    Length: 60 Pages
•    Retail: $16.99
•    ISBN: 978-050065039

Never too Young to Be an Art Curator!
My Big Art Show is actually a game that comes in a beautiful, sturdy 9 x 6 inch box with a  book of rules, info about artists and their works and answers to questions, and a big set of cards containing images of beautiful famous paintings. Here’s how the Publisher describes how the game works:

Each card represents a work of art as well as key information, such as artist and date. The cards also use symbols and colors to indicate which movement and theme the work represents. There are twelve movements: Renaissance, Baroque, Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Expressionism, Cubism, Futurism, Surrealism, and Pop Art, and six themes: People, Places, Objects, Animals, Story, and Religion. The aim of the main card game is to be the first to “put on a show,” or collect three and four of a kind. The game encourages children to become familiar with great art works and movements from the last five centuries, and helps them recognize the styles and themes that paintings share. The cards show reproductions of over fifty major works of art—by Michelangelo, Velázquez, Degas, Van Gogh, Kandinsky, Picasso, Dalí, Warhol, and others.

Why You’ll Love My Big Art Show
Part of being a smart, well-rounded child includes a cultural education. Learning about famous artists and their works of art makes children more worldly and teaches them to appreciate the beauty in paintings. It also gives them a lesson in history and geography, builds memory skills and teaches them to follow directions. The box and everything in it is made from the highest quality materials. Your children will be proud to show you all they know about art history after they play the My Big Art Show game. What a brilliant idea to teach kids about art!

Funny Face! Find the Surprises! Draw, Color and Fold!

Targeted Audience:  Lower Elementary (Ages 5-8)
•    Genre: Children’s Activity Art Book
•    Author: Jacky Bahbout
•    Illustrator: Hannah Warren
•    Publisher: Thames & Hudson
•    Publication Date: November 11, 2014
•    Binding: Paperback
•    Dimensions: 9.5 x  8.5
•    Printing: Full Color
•    Length: 64 Pages
•    Retail: $18.95
•    ISBN: 978-0500650363

Funny Face! is not your every day kind of activity book. There are many cut-outs in the pages, and the book is meant to be turned upside down and sideways, and the pages are meant to be folded backwards and forwards in places. There are arrows indicating just where to do this. Not all the pages are full size either, and there’s a reason for every time you see a partial or divided page. Kids use crayons or markers and their imaginations to color in faces, then manipulate the pages to see what surprising results unfold. Every child loves funny faces and these turn out to be the most clever and witty gags. Doodle through a die-cut and shaggy eyebrows on one picture turn into a droopy moustache on the picture beneath. Open a gatefold to make a little boy’s tiny ears become gigantic. Draw pictures on split pages to create faces with different hats, noses, and beards. Turn the pages back and forth to find all the tricks and make all the funny faces.

Why Your Child Will Absolutely Love This Book
Children love to draw and doodle even if they aren’t all that interested in becoming artists themselves. Funny Face! is so cleverly put together, it entertains kids and really gets them excited about how their art will be transformed next. The book is beautifully put together and printed and directions are straight forward and easy to follow. This is a must have book for bringing out the artist in all kids.

Make Art With Your Hands and Feet: Draw Around Your Hands and Feet to Make Pictures

Targeted Audience: Preschool, Lower Elementary (Ages 2-5)
•    Genre: Children’s Activity Art Book
•    Author: Jacky Bahbout
•    Illustrator: Momoko Kudo
•    Publisher: Thames & Hudson
•    Publication Date: September 16, 2014
•    Binding: Paperback
•    Dimensions: 14 x 11
•    Printing: Full Color
•    Length: 64 Pages
•    Retail: $17.95
•    ISBN: 978-0500650387

Hand and Foot Art Taken to a Whole New Level
Make Art With Your Hands and Feet! goes way beyond hand turkeys, not that there’s anything wrong with those. Kids trace around their hands and feet to complete 32 different wildly creative pictures. There’s a little round key on every page indicating whether to use your hands, fingers, feet or toes. Complete a picture with your toes to draw the people inside the windows of an apartment building.  Use your fingers to draw the teeth inside a shark, with its mouth wide open, use your feet to finish a waddling penguin or your fingers to put ears on some rabbits. The pages are printed on only one side so they can be torn out and hung on your walls, framed or made as gifts.

Why You’ll Love This Book
There’s a lot of empty space for kids to add their own personal touches on every picture; they’re only limited by their imaginations. Make Art With Your Hands is simply a vessel for kids to be super creative and make pictures they can be proud of. Art is an important part of learning, and it develops many different skills for students to be successful in academics. This book is original and fun and would make an excellent gift for toddlers and kindergarteners on your shopping list.

Okido Let’s Play a Game

Targeted Audience:  Preschool, Lower Elementary (Ages 4-8)
•    Genre: Children’s Activity Art Book
•    Created by: Okido
•    Publisher: Thames & Hudson
•    Publication Date: September 16, 2014
•    Dimensions: 9.5 x 13
•    Printing: Full Color
•    Length: 64 Pages
•    Retail: $24.95
•    ISBN: 978-0500650400

Six Clever Games in One
Think of OKIDO’s Okido Let’s Play a Game as six board games all rolled into one. Each game can be played with two or more players. All the rules are printed on the inside cover separated by boldly colored boxes. Remove the three reversible game boards from the slot in the box, unfold them and begin to play. The games include: Space Race (steer your rocket through outer-space obstacles back to Earth); Noisy Game (make body noises as you match them with their body parts); Slither and Climb (go up and down as you meet all the animals); Ready, Steady, Disco! (follow the actions to make dance sequences); and Superbuzz! (how long will you fly between the flowers before you get eaten by a bear or caught in a spiderweb?).

Why You’ll Love This Game Set
Okido Let’s Play a Game is the most portable, sturdy set of games I’ve ever seen. The entire game is housed in a one piece, two-sided cover made from thick, sturdy card stock. The games help develop math, memory, reading and hand-eye coordination skills. And as with all Okido products, this one is beautiful too. Okido is collaborative effort from London-based designers, illustrators, and authors who create an art and science magazine of the same name for young children.

The Paper Doll’s House of “Miss Birdie” 1884
Posted on October 27, 2014 by debbieglade under Age – High School, Age – Middle School, Age – Upper Elementary, Art & Architecture, Biographies, Interactive Book, Non-Fiction

Cover image – Courtesy of Thames & Hudson

The Paper Doll’s House of Miss Sarah Elizabeth Birdsall Otis, Aged Twelve

Targeted Audience: Upper Elementary, Middle School, Adult (Ages 9 and Up)
Genre:  Non-Fiction Biography/Art
Author/Photographer: Eric Boman
Publisher: Thames and Hudson
Publication Date: October 14, 2014
Binding: Hard Cover
Dimensions: 11″ x 9″
Printing: Full color
Length: 80 Pages
Retail: $30.00
ISBN: 978-0500650417

Late 19th Century Paper Doll House Brilliantly Designed by a Twelve-Year-Old
Untitled-3In 1884, at age twelve, Sarah Elizabeth Birdsall Otis decided to create her own paper doll house using collage materials she gathered from scraps of wallpaper, cuttings from mail-order catalogs, trimmings and paper cut-outs she colored. She put it all together in the format of a book, with no special regard to scale –  including bedrooms, a dining room, conservatory, kitchen and bathroom. She even made paper dolls, which she named and cataloged in labeled envelopes, and also made paper clothing and accessories for them from parasols to hats and lace collars.

The result of her efforts is an impressive display of artistry magnificently displaying the style of the period. Her eye for color and cutting wallpaper and found images in just the right places and arranging them is nothing short of remarkable. All of her impressive paper creations have been well preserved and beautifully photographed by the author in The Paper Doll’s House of Miss Sarah Elizabeth Birdsall Otis, Aged Twelve.

A Wealthy Girl from Long Island
Elizabeth Birdsall Otis was the youngest of three girls living with her parents on Long Island in the village of Bellport, in a grand Greek Revival mansion. Birdie’s mother had inherited a great deal of money from her family and purchased the 125 acres of land the house, named Near-the-Bay, still sits upon. Her wealth meant that her husband did not have to work, so he tended to the house, keeping a detailed journal of his chores. Growing up, Birdie observed all tasks relating to the mansion and the countless hours of decorating that took place. This set the stage for her to create a house of her own at the age of twelve, albeit a paper doll house.

Eight Paper Dolls and Four Pages of Costumes Included
As if the book itself weren’t enough to entertain readers, eight of Birdie’s named paper dolls have been recreated, waiting to be punched out, along with four pages of richly-colored costumes for dressing them up. These will provide hours of fun for any paper doll enthusiast.

What This Book Teaches
Readers get a glimpse into late 1880s America – not just the style of houses and clothing, but also the way of life for the elite. Historic images of Birdie’s house and family members set the stage for children to envision this era. It makes them appreciate the style and grace of an earlier time in our great nation as well as the modern conveniences of today. In addition to teaching readers about design and architecture they also learn about the fascinating life of Birdie, who grew up to be a wife, mother, playwright, suffragette and President of the Girl Scouts.

Why You Must Buy This Book
Paper dolls have been around since the early 1800s and are just as appealing to girls today as they were 200 years ago.  I recall playing with paper dolls as a child with my sister for hours on end. We were so excited to carefully punch the dolls out of the cardboard, name them, dress them up and play make believe. None I ever played with were as glorious as those created by Birdie.

Birdie’s paper doll house represents the hopes and dreams of a twelve-year-old girl living in America during the 19th century. Her vivid imagination and incredibly keen eye are sure to inspire readers to create their own doll houses from found paper, perhaps reflecting a more modern view. The fact that a young girl had the wherewithal and motivation to get this museum quality collage project done, 120 years ago, is testament to what each and every one of us can accomplish if we just take the time to observe, let our imaginations run wild like that of a child and get to work.  The Paper Dolls House is a book worthy of a permanent place on a bookshelf in your home library.

About the Author
Eric Boman is a photographer and writer, whose work has appeared in Vogue, Vanity Fair, and House & Garden. His publications include Rare Bird of Fashion: The Irreverent Iris Apfel. He lives in New York in a house that coincidentally once belonged to one of Birdie’s aunts. In the back of  The Paper Dolls House is a most interesting explanation of how he came to write and photograph this outstanding book.