Monday, April 28, 2008

Look! Body Language in Art

Author: Gillian Wolfe

Published By:Francis Lincoln Limited 2004

Genre: picture book, Informational

Age Range: grades 3-5

This book looks at different artwork and shows the viewer how body language can communicate different feelings and events. It looks at the body by breaking it up into different parts such as the face, hands, and body pose and encourages the reader to figure out what is going on in the scene by "reading" the body. At the end of the book the author provides more information about the artwork used and the artists who made them.

I stumbled upon this book in the library and was so excited to see a children's book addressing this concept. It is important not only in art but in the real world to understand that communication does not just occur via spoken or written language but that people can understand each other using other things. During times when I have had to communicate with people that spoke a different language than myself, I found that we could still understand each other by looking at our tone or body posture or by acting things out to one another. This book is another that teaches children while introducing them to famous works of art.

In an art class it will be important for students to understand that they need to make the bodies and gestures of their subjects match the tone and mood they are trying to create in their artwork. Students could practice different faces or postures that they associate with different feelings. It would be a fun activity to have them act these out as a class before they begin drawing. Students could then choose a feeling that they want to portray and use what they have learned to accomplish it.

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