The four books in the Handprint Art series are for children who want to take finger painting one step further. Mehtani demonstrates how the whole hand can be used to create gardens of flowers, and a variety of animals, vehicles, and people. Each of the books start with the same set of instructions for what is needed to begin and tips on making the projects a success. The author’s directions encourage experimentation and creativity.
Each book contains approximately twenty projects to complete. They all have simple step-by-step directions that appear next to a large picture of the finished design. Every project, which is contained on its own page, is set against a different coloured background. Although each project comes with a descriptive heading (Foxglove…a tall tower of bells), the paintings are easily identifiable because they look like what they represent in real life.
Handprint Garden teaches children how to make vegetables, fruits, trees, cactus, a variety of flowers, and seaweed. Some scenes are quite elaborate (forest) and some contain few details (mushrooms). This allows younger children to patriciate or gives those who want a quick project something to complete. All the projects include directions on how to put finishing touches on the paintings using fine-tipped brushes. Handprint People and Handprint Animals are created with the addition of google eyes. By painting their palms, fingers, or fingertips, children can make flamingos, alligators, camels, and people that children like to read about such as cowboys, wizards, fairies, astronauts and aliens. The people are created with a variety of skin tones, but many of the occupations are represented by males. The females are the queen, the fairy, the hula dancer and the ballerina. In Handprint Transportation, vehicles that look similar appear side by side. The car can transform into a taxi with just the change of paint colour and the addition of a sign, and the only difference between the bicycle and the motorbike are thicker tires (made with painted fingertips), a light, and longer handlebars. Some of the transportation paintings include people (drivers) and animals (horse and carriage).
Each book in the series ends with a small bibliography of books and websites and a glossary of definitions related to the contents of the book. Four to five colours are needed for most projects, but with a child’s imagination and a large assortment of colours, they can create something even more colourful than the author’s paintings.
To win these books be the fifth person to email me ([email protected]) with a description of your favourite creative activity.