In a follow-up to the high-contrast Art for Baby (2009), this wordless, oversized board book features colorful faces from critically acclaimed visual artists.
A quote in the frontmatter from Dr. Miriam Stoppard notes that babies are “hardwired to enjoy faces” and that looking at them helps their development. Art patron Peel has “curated” this portrait gallery by artists with household names, such as Paul Klee, Pablo Picasso and Jeff Koons, as well as lesser-known talents, such as Chris Ofili and Wang Guangyi. The works range in style from abstract to folk art. Each piece is featured on its own page, and a couple are natural baby-eye magnets. Donald Baechler’s Coney Island “II” is a perfect example—a childlike smiley face in primary colors on a green background. Chuck Close’s Emma depicts an actual baby face, and his perception-skewing approach may work quite well with newborn eyes learning to focus. Other works are too washed-out or may be missing too many important features in their abstraction to work for little ones, like the nearly noseless works of Hideaki Kawashima and Klee. The large Mylar mirror on the last page is a lovely addition.
While an uneven collection, this offering will do well as a gift book for artsy expectant parents. (Board book. 3 mos.-1)