Masterpiece Mix – Perfect Picture Book Friday

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Title: Masterpiece Mix

Author & Illustrator: Roxie Munro

Publisher: Holiday house, 2017

Ages: 7-11

Themes: art history, inspiration, famous artists


Today I will make a new painting.


The second spread is invitational with its tubes of paint and a blank canvas. The artist-narrator takes us through the steps of prepping a canvas and gathering supplies, but in front of the empty canvas she asks herself and the readers, “But what should I paint?” As part of the artist’s process of considering what her subject should be, she introduces the readers to (still life, animals, cultural subjects, landscapes, portraits, figure studies.) These are sources of inspiration taken from 37 famous artists. Readers get to see the artist’s final painting, which is influenced by all the masterpieces she’s examined.

The back matter includes a key to the artwork with brief descriptions of each painting alongside a thumbnail sketch of the paintings presented. Before we see her “masterpiece”, she tells us that her father always says, “Do what you really love.”

The artwork she has created is of a city, which incorporates each of the paintings she shared with us. And a fun key enables the readers to spot each masterpiece within the narrator-artist’s creation.

Why I like this book:

Great introduction to famous artists and their techniques, and how we can use them to learn and be inspired from. The reference material at the end is a great resource of the famous artists and paintings/styles shown in the book. This makes a great art history primer of western art for elementary students. There are lots of great picture book biographies out there of famous artists but this fills a hole for a book giving an overview of many famous artists of the last couple of centuries (excluding abstract painters.)


Have kids create their own masterpiece.

Roxie’s website has a link to a 1-minute video by Jo Booth, Occupational Therapist, of 3- to 5-year-old children working with Masterpiece Mix in an integrated classroom (typical kids and special needs children).

Author, Eric VanRaepenbusch, has a great post up on his author birthday blog about MASTERPIECE MIX and how he took his four children to Washington DC and played a scavenger hunt at the National Gallery of Art. They located 22 famous paintings using “Masterpiece Mix.” 

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.


This entry was posted in art, children's books, Illustrators, Perfect Picture Book Friday, resources & activities for elementary school teachers and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Masterpiece Mix – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. What a great idea for a book for budding artists and for art teachers to use with students. After studying famous artists and techniques in high school art, I remember my daughter painting her rendition of Van Gogh’s The Starry Night. I was impressed. I am glad to see something for younger elementary students.

  2. Jilanne Hoffmann says:

    This sounds great for anyone who’s trying to seek inspiration, not just kids. Will seek this one out. Thanks for the rec, Joanna!

  3. Roxie Munro says:

    What a lovely review – I am so honored! And activities too….what a treat. And thanks for pointing out that most books on art for kids are bios of individual artists, rather than more comprehensive art survey or historical collections (has to do with the permissions needed, which is why there aren’t more modern paintings in “Masterpiece Mix” …. after about 1925, most artworks are still under copyright to the heirs). Thanks so much for a wonderful review!!!

  4. Wonderful activities. I am excited to look at this book again, after reading your review.

  5. Patricia Nozell says:

    This sounds fabulous! Can’t wait to check it out!

  6. What a great way to introduce students to artists and their art. Great review thanks Joanna for sharing.

  7. Sue Heavenrich says:

    This book looks like SO MUCH FUN! Definitely going to look for it – to read and inspire me to get back to playing around with art.

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