________________ CM . . . . Volume XI Number 1 . . . . September 3, 2004


The Jumbo Book of Art.

Irene Luxbacher.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2003.
208 pp., cloth, $16.95.
ISBN 1-55074-762-2.

Subject Heading:
Art-Technique-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-8 / Ages 8-13.

Review by Margaret Rodermond.

*** /4


At the Avenue Road Arts School, we believe art is more than sketched out images, painted pictures or awesome 3-D objects. Art is an adventure - an exciting opportunity to draw out your best ideas, to mix information with imagination, to create with confidence and to inspire others. It's a road to discovery - and you're bound to find lots of artistic brilliance buried inside you. Each small step you take...will give you a feeling of accomplishment.


The Jumbo Book of Art starts with the assumption that everyone can become an artist given imagination, knowledge and opportunity. Would-be artists are presented with almost 100 art projects and ideas, all developed by instructors at the Avenue Road Arts School in Toronto. These projects will appeal to children, relying heavily on their imagination and their sense of fun. The projects are divided into four sections: Drawing out your ideas, Creating with color, Transforming ideas into sculpture, and Mixing up your media. Each section begins by showing some of the projects to be created and on what page they can be found, plus two introductory pages show some of the tools and materials needed for that section. Each project is prefaced by a few attention-getting sentences and an itemized list of tools and materials which will be needed. Most of the materials used are everyday and/or low-cost items. Easy-to-follow instructions are
accompanied by clear coloured illustrations which show the desired technique or result, plus any safety instructions when needed. However, the artists are always encouraged to individualize or personalize the projects. While learning various artistic techniques and creating something unique, students are always encouraged to have fun.

     Projects in each section range in difficulty from simple to complex. One of the simple projects in the Drawing section is where children are asked to trace their hand and then fill in the outline with details such as fingernails, wrinkles, hairs and knuckles. A simple project in the Painting section is the creation of a personalized colour wheel. In the Sculpture section, a moderately difficult project is the creation of an interesting landscape which incorporates some down-to-earth creatures. And in the Mixed media section, a difficult project is the creation of a flying sea serpent inspired by the myths and legends children have heard. By using varied materials such as paint, glue, chicken wire, a cardboard box, and wings made out of branches and tissue paper, a glorious flying creature emerges.

     By combining her backgrounds as artist and teacher, Irene Luxbacher has created a helpful resource book filled with ideas. A glossary in the back of the book clearly defines terms used in the book and is joined by a large index made up of art techniques, projects and different media used. Art teachers, classroom teachers, parents and volunteers working in schools, after-school programs and summer camps will find numerous ideas to challenge and delight the children with whom they work. This book should be included in collections for school and public libraries, as well as recreational organizations.


Margaret Rodermond is a Curriculum Librarian in the Faculty of Education's Curriculum Laboratory at the University of Lethbridge in Lethbridge, AB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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