KAHLO'S KOALAS by Grace Helmer


1, 2, 3, Count Art with Me
illustrated by
Age Range: 2 - 4
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Count groups of animals painted in the styles of various artists in this hybrid art and math book.

In a decidedly cheeky take on art history, this glossy-paged board book re-creates animals in different art genres, such as the pop art “3 Lichtenstein Llamas” composed of the trademark tiny dots, with text inside a distinctive starburst. It’s structured as a traditional counting book with increasing increments of animals, with satisfying alliteration introducing 10 different artists (all white men save for Kahlo). Playful illustrations do a remarkable job of capturing the essence and medium; those five splattery, splotchy dogs are clearly “Pollock Poodles.” Are toddlers likely to make the connections to the original art? Unlikely, but that doesn’t mean they won’t chortle at eight Technicolor Warhol Warthog heads—and one rump. The featured artists are famous enough that most adults will recognize the references, but if not, the backmatter concisely explains the art style and the thoughtful reason for choosing the animal that embodies it, suggesting that since pointillism was “was slow and painstaking,” a sloth was a perfect representation of that style. Older audiences may find it useful as a bridge to connect with the original artwork. Some colors and styles aren’t perfect emulations of the artists—the brushy koalas don’t mimic Kahlo’s fine technique, for instance—but it’s a refreshing change to see the topic of fine art handled so lightly.

Artsy fun. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 9th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-4494-9728-6
Page count: 24pp
Publisher: Andrews McMeel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2019


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