Top positive review
If I could give this more than 5 stars, I would
Reviewed in the United States on February 5, 2020
I wish I could give this product more than 5 stars! Elephant and Piggie (stars of the Mo Willems easy reader series) star in this activity book with a new character, Artvark, who teaches them about art. This is so much more than your average activity book. There is a overarching story-line, though kids can do pages and projects out of the order without much difficulty. At the bottom of each page, there is a prompt for kids about what to do. Some pages are for coloring, and those pages often have prompts for creative engagement. For example, "add in a background," or, "color this page really fast and messy!" There are a few mazes and a color by number. Many pages, however, have more in-depth activities. Kids will learn to draw Elephant and Piggie, make a collage, tear out a page to build a sculpture, tear out a page to create a mobile, create a poster, tear out a page to make a board game, etc. All the while...children are learning about different forms of art (portraits, still-life, sculpture, mobiles, and collage). There are also pictures inspired by real art. At the end of the book, kids have an art show and they learn how to show their art and talk about it.
I happened to pick this up book for the first time shortly before a school vacation week last year. It kept my two kids (then ages 3.5 and 6) busy ALL week. And not just busy, but happy, engaged, excited, and not fighting. They were SO excited to show their dad their museum when he came home. Beyond keeping my kids happy...I really feel like they learned so much. I saw their fine motor skills improve and they gained confidence in their drawing. This was also a fabulous first introduction to art and they got interested in going to art museums. We took them to an art exhibit and rather than being bored, they were engaged and so excited when they saw a Frida Kahlo self-portrait they recognized from their Elephant and Piggie book!
Since then, we have purchased this book two more times...once as a gift and once because my preschooler wanted to do it again. Which he did. And now he wants to do it yet another time! I suspect we will be buying a few more of these!
I find that the Elephant and Piggie book series attracts a wide age range, from older toddlers to early elementary schoolers who are reading it on their own. In order to be completely independent with this activity book, kids need to be able to read at a solid first grade level (similar reading level to the Elephant and Piggie books, though some of the activity directions are at a slightly higher reading level), and use scissors, tape, etc. But if you have an artsy preschooler, like I do...then I have to say that some of my most joyful parenting moments have been poring over the pages of this book together. I highly recommend. This would make a fabulous gift for ages 4 and up.