Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Art Classics Stories - Teaching Art With Classic Fairy Tales (& Fairy Tales with Classic Art!)

A few of you may know that one of the things I do is teach Art on a voluntary basis at my son's elementary school. The weeks where I get a little erratic with my posting times and frequency, are usually my 'art weeks' as I call them. They are the weeks where I do my last minute run around town and country to gather materials, prep everything (times as many kids as I will have), create my video resources (in which I usually try to sneak in some stories and pop culture they will relate the art and lesson to later), do my real time lesson trials until I smooth out the bumps and other random things, make sure I've covered all the nationwide art teaching standards and have worked in at least one or two connections to their other regular school subjects and lessons, along with a bit of science, a dash of history (not just art history) and every day practicality... and then, despite being process focused and not display oriented, I still have to put together a presentation that presents everything we did in the best light possible...

It's intense, crazy, draining, and worth every second when I see a kid begin to believe they really are creative, or discover how art is applicable - and helpful! - in every day life. (This past week-plus has been one of those!)

You may have guessed I'm not one of those who is good at taking a basic paint-by-numbers sort of lesson plan and being happy with that. I'm not. I'm a big believer in immersive learning and multidisciplinary approaches to hands-on experience and teaching, in being about process not product, and most lesson plans I come across simply don't take those into account. I'm always on the look out for different resources that are useful for tying art into other subjects, to connecting art to everyday school, and for combining it with stories and showing how it's useful in daily life.

The books I'm posting on today are one of these gems. These are classic stories, mostly fairy tales, that have been retold and 'illustrated' in the style of art masters, to teach, not only the story, but about the style of art.

I nearly fainted with delight the first time I saw these!

Here's the description of the series:

These are unique books that combine classical art with the most loved children's stories. Each book features a famous artist, with story illustrations in the artist's style. The exquisite pictures capture the children's eyes and guide them to the world of art. They offer a different aspect of art and using a delightful story format that makes it enjoyable as well as educational. These books can be used in reading tutorials, discussion class, art immersion courses or even for drama. 
• A delicate rhyming style to capture the essence of the story 
• The delightful tales of classical stories 
• The exquisite pictures to showcase the specific technique used by each artist 
• Discussion of the story and the art, which can take comprehension to a higher level 
• Moral lesson sections 
• CDs with Narrative voices (adult and children) and come with sound effect, excellent for play and dramatic lessons 
• Suitable for children from Elementary, Year 1 to 3 

And I'm going to say these are suitable for use well beyond third grade - for creative teachers at least. 

Here's the lovely list, sized so you can see how the art style is adapted for the story and which artist is matched with which fairy tale:

(My only complaint is they seem just about impossible to track down separately - and afford, yikes! - but I shall persist, if it takes me many iron shoes and climbing ranges of glass mountains!)

I did manage to find the Munch Musicians of Bremen book, for just a few dollars (minus the CD unfortunately), and am dually impressed. From what I've been able to see online and by the example I have, these have been wonderfully produced.

If you see these, snap them up! They're definitely in the treasure-resources category.

Note: If any of you come across any of these books and feel like donating to a good cause, I'll happily take the donation, put them to very good use and you'd be assured of enriching the lives of many kids.(Just email me at fairytalenews AT gmail DOT com.)


  1. Love these! Reminds me of the cds of Disney music done in the styles of classic composers, like Heigh Ho Mozart. A great way to connect kids with great artists/musicians by using something they're familiar with or interested in. Glad to hear the teaching went well :)

  2. great, you do a great job and I like it.. fairy tales and kids, I love it.

  3. Did you go on another hiatus again? It's been awhile since i heard from you.