By: Reviewed by Kyrie Collins, Highlands Ranch-Parker-Castle Rock Publisher
Macaroni Kid Highlands Ranch-Parker-Castle Rock is pleased to continue our Colorado children's author series with a pair of books written by Linda L. Osmundson — How the West Was Drawn: Frederic Remington's Art and How the West Was Drawn: Cowboy Charlie's Art. When researchers want to know what the real American West looked like before settlers moved in, they turn to the art of Charles Russell and Frederic Remington. Cowboy Charlie's Art is an AR (Accelerated Reading) selection.
Thomas Merton said, "Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. I have become inspired, angered, hopeful, delighted, and moved to tears as I gazed at various works of art. An appreciation of art is something I hope to instill in my children. Since they were very young, I have taken them to a variety of museums and galleries and encouraged them to look at the world with another perspective and try to see it through another's eyes."
Each book in the How the West Was Drawn series shows 13 works (paintings and sculptures) by the featured artist, poses several questions to consider while looking at the art, and then tells a short story about the artist relating to the work displayed. Linda Osmundson's experience as an elementary school teacher and as a museum docent is obvious in the thought-provoking questions she asks as well as in the interesting stories she chooses. My boys have never looked so intently at a piece of art as they did at the pictures in the books and we never had such a lively discussion about art either. I've been a fan of Frederic Remington (especially his sculputures) since my early 20s, so this was especially meaningful to me. Reading these books with my boys will help me engage them next time we go to a museum, I'm sure.
I would recommend these books for children in 3rd-6th grades, especially those interested in history, the Old West, horses, and American Indians. I don't think the books are intended to be read in one sitting but rather should be experienced a little bit at a time. Keep them handy in your family room — the artwork makes them lovely coffee table books — and enjoy a few pages with your kids the next time you are stuck inside for a snow day or are waiting on friends to arrive for a playdate.