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Monday, February 17, 2014

Art Detective

When I was a child, I detested going to visit the doctor. There was a scary painting of a clown in the waiting area. The place smelled strangely. I was afraid of the doctor himself (though I adored his sweet nurse). Only two positive things stick with me about my clinic visits: getting to look at HIGLIGHTS magazine and find the Hidden Pictures and walking out with a Safe-T-Pop sucker. 

Perhaps the former is one reason I like the book Art Detective: Spot the Difference by Doris Kutschbach. Nineteen paintings and their forged counterparts are featured in this intriguing book. Charlie the Sleuth, a detective dog, guides readers and careful observers through the paintings, half of which Charlie knows to be forgeries. To convict the forger, readers must help Charlie discover the differences in each forged painting. Sometimes there are 15 or 20 and sometimes only seven mistakes. Some are subtle, and some are quite obvious. I absolutely had to find the mistakes in each painting! The bow around the dog's neck is missing in the forgery of Georges Seurat's "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte." An apple moves position and changes color in "The Moneychanger and His Wife" by Quinten Massys. An eggplant is missing from "Still Life with Ginger Jar and Eggplants" by Paul Cezanne. Each painting and its artist is described in greater detail at the back of the book, sharing information about style, artists' choices, and interesting tidbits. It will encourage a visit to the local art museum.


  1. Oh my art teacher friend & former colleague is going to love this, if she doesn't already know it!! This is just the kind of book/idea she would use to engage her students in an art lesson & they would love it too!! I think I'll take a turn ...Yes, me too re. Highlights. PS Same goes for coming to Maine in March. Do you all have Mud Season too?

  2. Never been afraid of much, let alone clowns. For me they always foretold of adventures yet to come. Hey, call me crazy!

  3. What an interesting, engaging book. I, too, loathed clowns and always wondered why adults felt we should love them. But I did like the Highlights magazine at the doctor's office!