Press and Reviews

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What better way to mark Children’s Literature Week than with a selection of 50 books to consider adding to your home library? Atlanta Parent Magazine returns with its annual listing of books for kids of all ages, from board books for babies to chapter books for teens. Here’s what our panel of moms chose for this year’s list.

[ Board Books ]

Touch the Art series
by Julie Appel and Amy Guglielmo
(Sterling Publishing Co. Inc., $9.95)
The four titles in this series – Make Van Gogh’s Bed, Feed Matisse’s Fish, Brush Mona Lisa’s Hair and Pop Warhol’s Top – take well-known masterpieces and add an interactive element to them. Each book also includes more information about the featured works, which will educate parents, too.


Baby's first art catalogue

We receive a number of books in our offices, but few have caught our eye as quickly as the new set of children's art books coming out this autumn from Sterling Publishing with such charming titles as "Tickle Tut's Toes" and "Catch Picasso's Rooster". Illustrated with reproductions of famous masterpieces in museum collections that have been made more kid friendly — Dürer's Hare from the Albertina is embellished with a patch of plush fur — the books encourage youngsters to "stroke, pat, lift, and feel your way through art history. Go ahead — touch the art!" Museum guards should be on the look out for any well read toddlers attempting to get their hands on the real thing.

Touch the Art – Review

Books are everywhere in our house. Baskets of them! Plus I always keep a few in my purse or in the diaper bag.

Some of our favorites are board books. Especially those hands on board books. Recently, I was sent two new board books from the Touch the Art series.

What a fun way to get kids interested in art! Sure, Paige doesn’t understand the importance or meaning of the art that is in the book, but that doesn’t matter. She’s learning. Learning by feeling the different textures. Learning by discovery, if that makes any sense.

We go over the animals in Catch Picasso’s Rooster. What does the cat say? What color is the cow? We do the same in Tickle Tut’s Toes. We talk about sand, the pretty jewels…it goes on and on.

Touch the Art brings the museum to my house in a fun, playful and education way. That, my friends, is a good thing.

Dec. 11. 2006 People Magazine

Feed Matisse’s Fish

“A feast for the eyes and a delight for the little hands of board-book fans: Paintings such as Matisse’s Goldfish and Marc Chagall’s Birthday say “please touch” with a textured panel here or a tiny felt collar there.”

Published: 11.30.2006

Recommended new books for children

Tucson Citizen

'Feed Matisse's Fish'

Text by Julie Appel with illustrations by Amy Guglielmo (Sterling Books, $9.95)

This "Touch the Art" book allows young readers to tug, snap, lift and pull their way through the works of famous artists. You can feel the basket of Diego Rivera's Flower Carrier, touch the scarf of Frida Kahlo's Self Portrait and tap on the café window of Edward Hopper's Chop Suey. Since this book has movable pieces, it is not recommended for children younger than 3 and should be read with adult supervision.

'Brush Mona Lisa's Hair'

Text by Julie Appel with illustrations by Amy Guglielmo (Sterling Books, $9.95)

In the second title in the "Touch the Art" series, readers can brush Mona Lisa's hair, feel the color of The Laughing Cavalier by Frans Hals and touch the earring of Girl With a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer. For 3 and older.

'Make Van Gogh's Bed'

Text by Julie Appel with illustrations by Amy Guglielmo (Sterling Books, $9.95)

Readers can make Van Gogh's bed, touch Monet's water lilies, or play with Gauguin's puppies in this "Touch the Art" book. For 3 and older.

Any parent and fan of the ‘touch and feel’ type of children’s book will love this new twist on the concept from authors Julie Appel and Amy Guglielmo. Each page in this children’s board book includes art from the late 19th Century from great impressionist artists including Vincent Van Gogh. Of course, this is a “touch and feel” book so the authors have added to the artwork to give your child more than just a visual experience.

The essence of a well-rounded education includes the arts. Authors Julie Appel and Amy Guglielmo take this fundamental of education and expand on it with the early child development book Touch the Art: Pop Warhol's Top.

This children’s book starts your child’s art history early with a look at the “pop iconic” art of Andy Warhol and other famous artists. Not only that, but your child can “touch the art” with something included in every painting to help broaden and stimulate your child’s experience.

I have seen the ‘touch and feel’ books (being a parent myself) and my children have truly enjoyed feeling the ‘feathers’ of a duck or the ‘fur’ of a kitten, but this book takes the concept to a whole other level!
At first glance, my three-year-old son was enthralled with the book. He couldn’t wait to turn each page to see what surprise was waiting next. I, too, was impressed! This book, while fun, is (shhhh…don’t tell anyone!) secretly educational! The first page of the book is of Andy Warhol’s famous Campbell’s soup can, and the cover is cut away to include part of it. The top of the can flips open. Definitely an eye-catcher.
Other art in the book includes Warhol’s famous Marilyn painting (which has eyelashes for your child to touch), and Roy Lichtenstein’s Girl with Ball (which has a section of the ball for your child to touch). The book also includes a three-page history of the artists and their work. There is also a short bio on the authors, and other “Touch the Art” books.
I highly recommend this wonderful book to any parent and child combo. Parents, as well as kids, will certainly have fun with this unique look at great art.

The cover is cut away to see the first painting Van Gogh’s Bedroom at Arles and your child can touch a red cloth on the bed, thus ‘making’ the painter’s bed. Very clever! Each painting/page has a different surprise for your children to touch or feel. From a parent’s point of view, the educational value for a book like this is amazing, but your child will just be having fun.

Included with the paintings (from artists like Paul Gauguin, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Claude Monet) is easy reading, starting with, “Wake up, Good morning sleepy head.” The last painting of the book is, appropriately Van Gogh’s The Starry Night - complete with rough glitter in the star swirls for your child to touch. At the end of the book, there is a guide to the paintings and information on the artists.

You and your child will certainly enjoy this book and it is highly recommended, both for its educational value and its pure enjoyment. Truly an art museum experience without leaving the house!

Through The Looking Glass Children’s Book Review

Make Van Gogh’s bed

Julie Appel and Amy Giglielmo

Board Book (Series)

Ages 2 to 5

Sterling, 2006, 1-4027-3567-7

  Have you ever dreamed of being able to jump into a painting and touch some of the things that you see on the canvas? Well here is your chance to do just that. Imagine being able to make the bed in Van Gogh’s bedroom, or being able to stroke the tutu of one of Edgar Degas’ ballerinas. Imagine being able to touch the sand on Mary Cassatt’s beach and wouldn’t you love to feel the soft petals of Monet’s water lilies?

  With simple and lively rhymes, wonderful reproductions of Impressionist art, and clever touch-and-feel surfaces this book makes it possible for young children to get a truly interactive experience of some of the world’s most memorable and well known paintings.

At the back of the book readers will find an “Artifacts” section which provides further information about each of the paintings and about the artists who created them.

  This is one of the titles in the excellent “Touch the Art” series.

Feed Matisse’s Fish

Julie Appel and Amy Guglielmo

Board Book (Series)

Ages 3 to 6

Sterling, 2006, 1-4027-3568-5

  It is going to be a “busy day” for there are lots of things that need to be done. There are fish to feed, there is hair to comb, there are flowers to gather, there is lunch to be eaten, there are places to visit, there are people to see, there are games to be played.

  In this unique board book children will be introduced to nine famous paintings in which they will see scenes from everyday life, scenes showing people doing things and being busy. Among other things they will see children writing on a blackboard and they will see people sitting in a restaurant. Better still they can experience these paintings through the tips of their fingers as well for in each painting there is a textured area to feel and to explore.

  All in all this board book offers children a multi-sense experience for as they listen to the text being read to them they can look at the images of the paintings and they can touch the rough, smooth, fabric and plastic surfaces which are cleverly incorporated into the art work. They will have the opportunity to see some famous paintings and learn a little about the people who created them.

  At the back of the book the authors provide their readers with further information about the nine paintings shown on the pages.

  This is one in a series of books which explores art.

What happens when you combine an art teacher with a lawyer?

Something wonderful.

Julie Appel (the art teacher) and Amy Guglielmo (the lawyer) have paired up to create an absolutely innovative approach to introducing classic artwork to young children. The "Touch the Art" series reproduces famous masterpieces -- with a twist. Each picture will have some part of it replaced with a tactile experience. Johannes Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" is actually wearing a faux pearl earring. Andy Warhol's "Marilyn" has thick eyelashes. Vincent van Gogh's "The Starry Night" glistens with upraised glitter. And Diego Rivera's "The Flower Carrier" holds a basket that is partially rattan.

The series as it stands thus far is contained in a series of four durable board books. An introduction to fine works of the Renaissance and Baroque periods make up "Brush Mona Lisa's Hair", while the Impressionists get their due in "Make Van Gogh's Bed". Modern art is the focus of "Feed Matisse's Fish", and finally the world of Pop Art pops out at the reader with "Pop Warhol's Top" (see inset, left).

Because some of the pictures contain dangly bits that could be pulled off and swallowed, the books come with a disclaimer that they are not for children under age three. However, the language of the books is certainly geared toward that age and, perhaps, a few years on either side, with instructions like "Juicy, delicious, fun and nutritious. Can you pull the lettuce? Don't make any messes" (from Claes Oldenburg's "Two Cheeseburgers, with Everything (Dual Hamburgers)"). If you've got a tugger-chewer-swallower, then certainly supervise them as you would with any pop-up book, especially as these books have more than just flaps and surfaces but dangly bits like braids of hair (Amedeo Modigliani's "Girl with Braids"), lace (Berthe Morisot's "The Cradle"), and even feathers (Raphael's "Sistine Madonna").

The only fault I find with these books is something that many parents may also find to be a plus, and that is in the cropping of some larger works to focus on a detail -- which, as luck would have it, leaves out any potential viewing of naughty bits; so Botticelli's "Birth of Venus" is a zoom-in on her face from the shoulder's up. However, for younger attention spans, cutting out some details could be viewed as a good thing for the learning process. And that's the most important thing.

Nov. 27, 2006, 11:20AM
Interactive elements

Illustrations, CDs and experiments enliven new releases

Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

These fall titles will prove to kids that weighty books don't have to be boring.

Brush Mona Lisa's Hair and Pop Warhol's Top

By Julie Appel and Amy Guglielmo

Sterling, $9.95 each

Ages 3 and older

These Touch the Art titles are a little larger than average board books for little hands. That makes them just right for introducing famous artwork with extra touches.

In Brush Mona Lisa's Hair you really can touch Mona Lisa hair, tickle the pony's tail in Prince Balthasar Carlos on Horseback and blow the feathers on the Sistine Madonna detail. Works by nine artists — from the masters of the Renaissance to the baroque — are featured.

In Pop Warhol's Top, the reproductions are from the 20th century. Fluff Marilyn's lashes in Andy Warhol's 1964 piece, poke the sticky yellow in Mustard on White or feel the swirls on Wayne Thiebaud's Cakes.

Also check out Feed Matisse's Fish and Make Van Gogh's Bed.

November 06, 2006

A good start for great art

Touch the Art!

by Julie Appel and Amy Guglielmo

My mother will tell you her favorite way to wear out a pair of shoes is at the Met. My favorite game as a kid? Why, Masterpiece, of course. And I took Art History at arguably the best college for it.

So when these fat little volumes landed in my lap, I was pretty happy. Kids' books on great art are a trend these days. Whether it's a biography or a famous painting
or a museum trip, publishers seem eager to serve up extra helpings of the stuff. Not sure why, except perhaps it's appealing to the same parents who are snatching up all those Baby Mozart CDs.

You scoff. Maybe you don't think my daughter will be able to discern Van Gogh from Vermeer by the time she potty trains, but it won't be for my lack of trying. Familiarity breeds, uh, well, more familiarity. And that's good, right?

These four sturdy board books are organized by genre: Great Masters, Impressionists, Modern Art and Pop Art, and add ribbons, bits of lace or texture for kids to touch, spindle or mutilate. Product testing in our state-of-the-art laboratory reveals the books hold up well under extreme conditions, such as stomping, gnawing and being dropped from bunk beds.

Twirling tutus, 1,2,3!
The girls are waiting by the sea.

The verses are airy bits of whimsy, or they encourage the kids to play with what they see. Biographical tidbits and explainers are in the back, labeled “artifacts”, though how well a toddler will sit through it is, ah, still under study here.

Shop at the Williams College Museum of Art for Holiday Gifts for Family and Friends

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., Dec. 4, 2006 -- When the search is on for a unique gift in this age of box stores, strip malls, and uberbrand marketing, don't despair.

The Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) offers an imaginative and diverse assortment of surprises in its museum shop, with presents for everyone on your holiday shopping list.

For a little sister, cousin, or niece on your shopping list, check out the playful but academic take on the kiddy classic "Pat the Bunny." In "Brush Mona Lisa's Hair," Julie Appel and Amy Guglielmo put little kids in touch with famous works of art; for example, they present Jan van Eyck's "The Arnolfini Portrait" and include a cut of soft brown fabric over the brown fur coat in the painting. At the museum, picture books and drawing books are available for a wide range of age and skill levels.

Brave new world for children"They'll learn much more ... than I'll never know ... And I think to myself ... what a wonderful world." - lyrics, "What a Wonderful World"

Thursday, January 04, 2007

My children (and my students) know more than I'll ever know, especially about subjects such as cell-phone photography. And it is a wonderful, brave new world. One way for children to learn more is to start earlier (and earlier).

A case in point - or actually in pointillism: A 4-year-old Ashley Hall student was discussing her favorite pointillist painters and asking my son-in-law for his opinions. This event caused a full-scale red alert for the parents and grandparents of our son-in-law's son. (Translation: our grandchild.) The realization was tantamount to the launch of Sputnik.

We were way behind and had only three short years to bestow a working foundation of the art world upon this baby. Otherwise, he never would have the opportunity of discussing Seurat at age 4. Woe betide the 5-year-old who thinks Edward Hopper is a bunny.

Fortunately for us and for all the unsuspecting toddlers out there, Julie Appel and Amy Guglielmo have created a delightful series of "Touch the Art" board books. It's the same basic idea as "Pat the Bunny" by Dorothy Kunhardt," but different. Children are encouraged to "Make Van Gogh's Bed," "Feed Matisse's Fish," "Brush Mona Lisa's Hair" and "Pop Warhol's Top."

Each interactive page invites children to brush, ruffle, snap, pull, lift and tug their way through the masters of the Renaissance, Baroque, Impressionism, modern art and pop art of the 20th century. Each book closes with a section on "Artifacts" that gives a thumbnail sketch of the artists. This is learning that's fun for children and adults.

Kids Learning Stuff

My favorite books, toys, games, and activities for kids.


Some more art books:
Feed Matisse's Fish
is part of a series called Touch the Art books, which also includes Make Van Gogh's Bed
,Brush Mona Lisa's Hair
,and Pop Warhol's Top
These interactive board books bring famous art works to life. They have flaps to lift, fabric to touch, and other 3-dimensional and tactile items, reminiscent of
Pat the Bunny
Kids will love these fun, colorful books and they, as well as their parents, will learn and remember the art works. It will be so exciting for them to recognize the art works when they visit a museum someday.

hype baby

A blogazine for babies with attitude.

Touch the art

Julie Appel brings the Masters to minors with this playful series of touch-and-feel board books. Brush Mona Lisa's Hair introduces the Renaissance period with a tactile twist. Although targeted at four to eight-year-olds, even babies will enjoy combing La Giaconda's hair, stroking the horse's tail in Velazquez's Prince Baltasar or tugging at the flaming locks of Botticelli's Venus. Great fun for the young at art. Other books in the Touch the Art series include Make Van Gogh's Bed, Feed Matisse's Fish and Pop Warhol's Top. Available at Amazon.

September 19, 2007


Art may be in the eye of the beholder but touching and feeling fine art turns the experience into an exploration. “Make Van Gogh’s Bed” reproduces fun, interactive artwork and incorporates textured touch spaces. Kids can tug, snap, lift and pull their way through art history. Featuring works by the Impressionists and other late 19th-century artists, I can hardly wait until the Bump can make Van Gogh’s bed, touch Monet’s water lilies and play with Gauguin’s puppies!