Book Review: Rembrandt (Art for Children Series)

Review cross-posted on our sister site, Caterpickles.

Harmensz. Van Rijn Rembrandt: Art for Children
By Ernest Lloyd Raboff
Doubleday & Co, Inc., 1987
Age Range: 4-8

The Art for Children Series, now sadly out of print, includes 16 books on major artists across the spectrum, including Rembrandt, Remington, Van Gogh, da Vinci, Gauguin, Chagall, and Picasso. (Complete list here.)

What makes this series exceptional are the large, full-color reproductions of the artist’s major works, along with a simple explanation from Raboff of the way in which the artist uses color, light, and detail (or lack thereof) to draw your eye to specific elements in the painting or, in Rembrandt’s case at least, to give you insight into the sitter’s personality.

Each book begins with a very simple biography of the artist to give some context to the work, but its focus is on teaching children how to look at and, hopefully, appreciate art. In that sense, it has as much to offer parents as it does children. I don’t know about you, but once I’ve said “I like how Picasso used blue there,” I’ve pretty much exhausted my ability to comment on art. Which is why I plan to track down the rest of the books in the series.

And now it’s your turn. What are you reading this week?

About Shala Howell

I spent two decades helping companies like Bell Labs, Juniper Networks, and a genetic testing company that was later acquired by CVS translate some of the world’s most complicated concepts into actionable, understandable English. Now I'm working on a much harder problem -- fostering children’s curiosity and engagement in the scientific, artistic, and linguistic world that surrounds them. The first book in my Caterpickles Parenting Series, What’s That, Mom?, focuses on how to use public art to nurture children’s curiosity in the world around them. My next book will focus on science, and how parents without a science degree can answer their curious child's questions without enrolling in a college level refresher course. In the meantime, you can find me blogging about life with a very curious Eleven-Year-Old at, chatting about books and the writing life at, and tweeting about books, writing, science, & things that make me smile at @shalahowell.
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