Miró's Magic Animals
This unique book is a must-have for art lovers and the budding artist or art aficionado. This book is a mixture of biography, picture book, and memoir. Tony’s memories of Miró are brought to life with family photographs as the story centers around Tony and Miró’s trip to the London Zoo, and the work Miró creates as inspired by his own childlike wonder.
The book is very interactive. Children’s drawings inspired by Miró are scattered throughout the pages and early on the reader is encouraged to find them. Furthermore, while the author explores Miró’s life and work through the narrative of the zoo story, readers are encouraged to take a closer look at the art, to notice details or question certain elements, which makes this a fantastic start for children to learn to really see and evaluate art.
Miró is introduced as a quiet, kind man who lived in a world filled with strange and magical creatures. Some of Miró’s work is placed into context as Tony examines details, subjects, and symbolism.
For instance, when discussing "The Farmer’s Wife," Tony focuses on her large feet, which children would notice as largely disproportionate to the rest of her, and talks about Miró’s belief of reaching the stars but first needing your feet firmly planted.
There is also a tinge of the homage to Miró as the author uses some alternating fonts to emphasize particular things in his descriptions. The word jump is staggered to look like a jump while firmly is bolded and underlined to underscore the heaviness of this word.
The reproductions of famous artwork and the photographs in the book are excellent—true to color and detailed enough on the page for closer looks. The juxtaposed text is bold on the white background making this easy to read for a lap time book, but not for story time (the book is too small). (Readers will have to go to the final page of the book to learn the title of each of the works pictured.)
This book is written for preschool through second grade, and is a great reader for very young second-language learners as well. The text is simple yet introduces new words that with the right teacher could help build a young person’s vocabulary.