Mini Monets and Mommies: Holiday Gift Guide: Art Books for Children

Friday, November 28, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide: Art Books for Children

Are you looking for a holiday gift for your young child that doesn’t light up, make near-deafening noises or take the better part of Christmas day to put together? Why not try a book? I’ve put together a list of my favorite art books for kids. These aren’t just books about art. Some of them include artistic concepts such as shapes and colors.

Holiday Gifts

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These are easy reads with eye-catching illustrations that I’ve read about a zillion times (ok, that might be an exaggeration). But, they are some of my favorites from my son’s younger years. I’ve also read them, based all kinds of activities on them and used them as a way to view art (with the children who I’ve taught (without having to actually look at a painting hung on a wall).

So, if you decide on one of these children’s books as a Christmas, Hanukkah or holiday gift for your toddler or preschooler, consider adding in an art activity too! That’s why I’ve provided super-simple crafts and artsy adventures that go along with each great read.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? By Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle

Eric Carle

 Colors, animals and a cool collage style. Make a simple shape collage. Cut up construction paper into shapes, ask your child to name the colors and help her to puzzle together a collage animal with them.

Love this! Let your pint-sized Picasso make a Matisse style collage using paper shapes and school glue.

Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
Planting Rainbow

I used this with a group of preschoolers to make a mixed media color garden collage (yes, I do a lot of collages). Try something similar to the Eric Carle animal collage, but with plant shapes. Add colorful tissue paper and even a few real seeds that your child can glue on.

Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh

Color Book

Paint like a mouse! Ok, maybe not. But, your child can mix the primaries (red, yellow and blue) paint together to explore the process.

Art Dog by Thatcher Hurd
Art Reading

Get out the brushes, pour a few pools of tempera onto a palette (I like to use a sheet of wax paper as an inexpensive alternative) and let your child paint on a piece of poster board.

My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss, Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
Children's Book

Gather together paper, tissue, clay, paints, crayons, markers and pencils in a few different colors (try to find different shades of each color). Have your child separate them and then make individual color collages.

Cut out two fish shapes (using white paper). Have your child pick out a red crayon and a blue one to color the fish!

When a Line Bends a Shape Begins by Rhonda Gowler Greene

Shape Activity
I did this art exercise with preschoolers for several summers while teaching pre-k art classes. Give your child a piece of yarn (if you’re 100 percent sure she won’t poke herself, switch it up for a pipe cleaner). Have her bend it (like the title of the book) into shapes.

The Shape of Things by Dayle Ann Dodds and Julie Lacome

Art Book
Cut a few paper shapes and have your child collage them together to make a house or anything else that she sees.

A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni

Color Book
Use oil pastels to mix colors (your child can blend them with her fingers). She can make a color of her own!

Do you want to find a few more creative crafts for your child to try after reading these artsy books? Follow my Pinterest board for ideas!

Follow Mini Monets and Mommies's board Creative Kids Crafts on Pinterest.


  1. Hi, I'm a children's librarian and blogger and this is such a creative post! I love it! Sharing ... Found you on the Your Modern Family Pin-It Party.

  2. Art Dog looks adorable! I love colorful books for kids (and for me too! lol!)

    1. It is. Whenever I teach preschool summer art camps, the kids always ask for it. They love it!

  3. Great list of art books. I love the Art Dog. :) By the way, I have a Book Musing Mondays linkup that this post is perfect for. Stop by and linkup. I share the posts across my social media and I have a special pinterest board. You can link up at : Book Musing Mondays We are also having a great giveaway. I hope you will stop by. ;)

  4. My kids loved When Pigasso Met Moostise!

    1. That is one of my all-time favorites. My son loved it when he was younger and the kids who I teach always get a kick out of it (plus it has such a wonderful lesson about everyone being different and getting along).

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  6. That said, whatever topic you choose for your second book, you never know if people might enjoy one book enough to read your other book, whether on the same topic or not.

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