ABCs of Art

By | 30 June 09

art-hermanthejesterHerman the Jester and the ABC’s of Art, by Rafael Filion, is a tremendously useful book for teaching art theory to very young children.

It’s ideal as the basis of a daily or weekly art lesson.  It’s also a great preparation for taking young children to art museums.  In fact, it’s one of the best I’ve seen, for that purpose.

Each letter of the alphabet is matched to an art-related word.  The word — like the book — is in English, but it’s also provided in Spanish, German, and French.  Each letter is also represented with Sign language.  This expands the use of the book in any classroom setting.

The illustrations in the book are delightful.  They aren’t too intimidating for young children, and will definitely appeal to them.  They’re colorful and fun.

The brief definition of each art-related word will give teachers enough to work with, to teach effectively.  They’re even more useful if the teacher spends a little time online or with art books, learning more about the subject to explain it in more depth.

I especially like that the book includes several complex art concepts, and it doesn’t “talk down” to children.

This kind of book is ideal for a homeschool group, teaching children at  multiple grade levels.

For teaching a class, or reading to more than a very small group of children, larger illustrations will be helpful.  The examples in the book are too small to be seen beyond the second row in a classroom setting.

However, many school and public libraries have excellent books to supplement what’s in “…The ABC’s of Art.”  (Every book has its limits, and this one addresses that issue well.)

The price of the book reflects the full-color pages, but it may be a little price-y for a teacher or homeschooler who is taking this out of his or her personal budget.

However, this is a very useful book for a department, school library, or public library to purchase.  It will be greatly appreciated by teachers.

As a starting point for a daily or weekly art theory lesson, this is a book that teachers have needed for a long time.


  • Every page is in color, and has a lot of visual appeal.
  • The terminology doesn’t “talk down” to children.
  • Helpful tips make it easy for teachers to share this information without an art background.


  • The price of this large paperback book  isn’t competitive with some art books from larger publishers.
  • Images of the art being described are small for students to see from a distance.

(Aside from the price, I had to look hard to make a second negative comment.)

If you are buying books for a public or school library, I think this is a must-buy.  If you frequent your public or school library, recommend this book as a useful resource for teachers and parents.

art books review rating - 4 stars

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