Masterpiece Mix by Roxie Monro

by Jo Booth

This post originally appeared on the blog Developmental Play and Learning

Masterpiece Mix by Roxie Munro has been an enormous hit at Easterseals in our preschool. The book is beautifully written and the author is speaking directly to children in the language that is developmentally understood. Of course, the artwork is fantastic and done in Roxie Munro’s award-winning style of realism with just a wink of whimsy. The book consists of extra-large and thick pages that are perfect for repeated readings and the handling of preschoolers.

Inside Masterpiece Mix

The story begins with Roxie trying to decide what to paint. She readies her canvas giving kids a peek at the life of an artist and what an art studio might look like. Should she paint a landscape – which we learned was a picture about places, a still life, or portrait? It is most impressive how she speaks with ease and explains the different categories of paintings. Scattered throughout the pages are classic paintings covering all the surfaces of her workroom – some even hidden on mugs and calendars! I had one boy who is dependent on a ventilator and probably had not been to an art museum before sitting in rapture, staring at the paintings on each page. At one point he grabbed my arm to get a closer look, and in that moment I knew his life had been changed by the exposure to art from this book. He had experienced beauty and the notion of creativity was planted. The last page of the story displays what Roxie chose to paint. The kids loved all the hidden works of art contained in her painting and enjoyed seeking out paintings they had seen previously. In the back is a key to all the artwork in the book, explaining both the piece and a little bit about the artist.

Extension activity

After our classes read and explored the book, we decided to make our own masterpieces. We got out the tools of our trade – markers, pencils, and crayons and went at it. It was exhilarating to see the kids so inspired. We then framed each one and displayed them for all to see. A follow-up session gave each child the opportunity to describe their masterpieces. We used a plastic microphone and gave everyone a turn to say something about their work. It was fascinating to hear the depth of answers to poised questions from their peers. It boosted the spirits of all for not only the day but for all the days to come. The message was clear – There was a masterpiece inside of them too. And what a message that is!

This video was filmed at the Friendship Academy, inclusive preschool program. We believe that everyone contributes, and through our shared experiences that we all are stronger.

This post was originally published at http://www.playful-living.com.

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