Milan-based Zuffi mines art masterpieces in aid of early learning, leaving his usual audience of adult art lovers behind for this effort.
Here he helps youngsters reinforce their counting skills even as he exposes them to artworks ranging from the Renaissance to pop art. In a handsome and elegant squared-off format, he pairs 13 works by greats like Henry Moore (the emblematic King and Queen, ca. 1952-53) with a corresponding numeral (2) and offers a telling, enagaging rhyme: "Good afternoon, my king, my queen. / Are you enjoying this winter scene?" Favorite and accessible works include Caravaggio's three (3) Cardsharps, Edward Hopper's four (4) Nighthawks, Henri Matisse's five (5) figures engaged in a bold, exuberant Dance and Pierre-Auguste Renoir's twelve (12) guests enjoying a languid summer Luncheon of the Boating Party. The rhymes are every bit as affecting as the art: Thomas Gainsborough's charming, soft, crayon drawing, Six Studies of a Cat, is paired with "6 / lazy kittens on the floor. / Some stretch and curl, / others sleep some more." (Oh, and that 13th work? "So many men in hats falling from the sky" in René Magritte's Golconda.)
This handsome entry will particularly please art-loving parents. (Picture book. 3-8)