The Arty Book
Nikalas Catlow & David Sinden
160pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99
Growing Up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) is a major study following the development of 10,000 children and families from all parts of Australia. The study commenced in 2004 with two cohorts – families with 4-5 year old children and families with 0-1 year old infants. Among its findings is that many children under 12 are spending a third of their waking hours in front of a screen of some sort and this is having, and will continue to have, ramifications on their physical, social and emotional well-being. Experts say that there are two keys ways of reducing this amount – being a role model so not being on a screen all the time ourselves, and making sure that other activities have priority so that screen time is restricted to what little time might be left over in the day.
With the school holidays happening or fast approaching in Australia, The Arty Book could be part of the solution to providing alternatives to endless television or computer gaming.
While it is somewhat similar to the activity books of old that we remember, this one is much more upmarket, interactive and appealing to an older audience. It’s key character is a cartoon-like character called Arty with quirky curly hair and distinctive red glasses and users are invited to participate in all sorts of activities to make Arty unique so their own creativity is to the fore. This is not a colour-in-the-lines or connect-the-dots book. They can change Arty to what they want him to look like as they are presented with just his trademark glasses; make Arty badges; even use their feet to make Footprint Arty. Each page has a new suggestion that encourages them to customise the Arty artworks so they are imaginative and personal . They also take the child into new areas of art they might not have explored before so there is scope for new explorations like collage and spatter painting,
Parents and grandparents who are looking for something engaging that will be more appealing than a screen would love to know about this book – especially if the school library were to host an after-holidays display of Arty drawings seeking the most imaginative, original and unique as the centrepiece of a collection of art-technique books and a Makerspace challenge to create a 3D Arty. There might even be a storyfest with Arty, based on one of the drawings, as the central character! A great opportunity to embrace so many areas of the curriculum.
From little things…