Following an artist's lead

9th June 2006 at 01:00
A FIRST LOOK AT ART: WEATHER; MYTHS; JOURNEY'S; CELEBRATIONS. Ruth Thomson, Chrysalis, pound;11.99 each. Amazing Art Attack Stuff Neil Buchanan. Dorling Kindersley, pound;12.99

Adult artists can lead the way for children to follow. Ruth Thomson's bright and wide-ranging books provide dozens of visually attractive models and then show how they can be imitated, re-interpreted or transformed. Weather shows how a Derain painting might stimulate a tissue paper landscape in hot colours or how a Hokusai print, with its windswept human figures, might help children summon up a three-dimensional study of a blustery day. In Myths, we find Icarus tumbling from the sky and crowded scenes from the Ramayana next to children's work portraying the same stories.

The other two books extend our sense of what art comprises. At the same time, the author offers enough suggestions about method to ensure that children's own versions and discoveries will be an interesting blend of authenticity and originality Art Attack is a deservedly popular and award-winning TV series. This new book assembles more than eighty projects from three previously published compilations. Fans will know that the materials needed are nearly all found with little difficulty in the home or the classroom. The author is infectiously enthusiastic, the stages of each process are clearly photographed and described, and the titles of the projects speak directly to primary children - who could resist Wiggly Ears or Security Spiders? Many of the artefacts tend towards the monstrous and the spooky. But there are also more homely ideas - like dinosaur banks for pocket money. This is a book not just for rainy afternoons but for all seasons.

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