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Tell Me a Picture

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  117 ratings  ·  34 reviews
An alphabet of pictures with a story in common. Some are by illustrators, others are by artists whose pictures are usually seen in art galleries. From them, Quentin Blake shows how stories can be told around any picture.
Hardcover, 72 pages
Published March 15th 2015 by Frances Lincoln Children's Books (first published March 1st 2001)
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3.91  · 
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 ·  117 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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Louise Farthing
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Alphabetical pictures, asks lots of questions about the artists and their work. Aims to get other children’s ideas and views on the art work. It also promotes individuality as each cartoon character has their own opinion. The book also aims to get children to evaluate pictures and enjoy them at the same time.
The British Children's Laureate has chosen 26 different paintings, one for each letter of the alphabet, and presented them here on the right-hand side of the book. On the left-hand side of the book, a series of sketches features youngsters and adults ruminating on the content and meaning of the illustrations. After all, there is often much to notice in paintings, and each painting tells a story. I love the fact that there is much disagreement about the paintings since each observer notices somet ...more
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I really enjoyed this book, it's different. It displays lesser-known works of art in alphabetical order on the right-hand side of each page, accompanied by on the left-hand side, children's (often humourous) observations about each piece. But to know more about it, there is a section at the end of the book where you can find out more about each painting.

My favourite painting from the book is by the Quay Brothers entitled 'Serenato in Vano;' I really like the simplicity and roughness of this pie
This is a wonderful collection of artwork for young children-- on the alphabet book theme. What I found most amazing was that art work from 1600 stood up very well with art from today. If museums were to include famous illustrators of children's books in their collections, then you could browse through 1,000 years of art history without the schism of abstract expressionism, only the beauty of it. What I mean to say is that One of Ezra Jack Keats paintings, like a snowy day from his Pete books, w ...more
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This book offers children a chance to examine and discuss 26 paintings. While the paintings are presented in an A to Z order, primarily based on the artist's name, it really wasn't an alphabet book.

I loved the discussion about the job of Children's Laureate as well as the inspiration for the Tell Me a Picture exhibit at the National Gallery in London and this book.

Overall, we enjoyed looking at the pictures. We didn't pause for very long on any one picture, but I did try to elicit comments on
Aug 17, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Quentin Blake, perhaps best recognized as the illustrator of Roald Dahl’s books, has put together 26 paintings and illustrations by a wide range of artists. His intent is to get kids to look at the pictures and give their honest reactions to what they see. After each painting, Blake has illustrated a group of children giving off-hand comments about each picture. I had seen very few of these paintings before, and was not familiar with several of the artists. This is a great way to get kids lookin ...more
Quentin Blake's distinctive style lends credo to this introductory collection of artwork from some of history's most notable talents. Makes for an easily accessible gateway to studying art with children. Perfect resource for a classroom or school library!
Jan 04, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very interesting idea for the exhibition, but I don't feel it succeeded nearly as well as a picture book.
Emily Shilling
'Tell me a Picture' is an interesting book. It contains many pieces of art work; including paintings and drawings. Quentin Blake uses characters to introduce the pictures, by asking questions and pointing out specific details. What is interesting about this book is the fact that readers are left to interpret the pictures and drawings however they like. This means that children who are introduced to this book are able to use their imagination and really explore the power of artwork without any wr ...more
Charlotte Hanlon
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is good in the sense that it shows 26 different pictures by different artists with an idea of encouraging children to really look at what the drawing is trying to portray. Furthermore, it allows the children to express what emotions they may get from each picture, such as one being a little worried. In addition, it was good that after children have put forward their opinions of each, they are then presented with a little description of each picture, telling them what each was about. Th ...more
‘Tell Me a Picture’ was a book on my pre course reading list for university and for me personally I dislike the book however, the concept is good.
Blake uses pictures from the National Gallery/ modern painters against some illustrated pictures. The whole idea is to inspire you in what you think may be happening in the picture without any text influence your thinking.
I personally disliked the book, as I felt a bit uninspired going through the pages. I would be interested in using this book with
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very helpful book which emphasises the importance of children being able to make up their own minds about what they are presented with and even how their ability to do this is remarkable to the older generations who have their view tainted by outside forces. I found the children of Blake's own creation amusing and very in-keeping with how one would expect children to comment on this artwork. I found the whole concept of this book very helpful and would use it and the messages it conveys as tools ...more
Ryan Brinn
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like the way that quentin has incorporated the alphabet theme in which he chooses a different painting for each letter! As he goes through these 26 paintings he portrays on the left hand of the page a series of illustrations involving children and adults, many of these quite humerous! He expresses artwork in a fun and exciting way, informing and entertaining at the same time!
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Blake collects a bunch of evocative paintings/illustrations, encourages the audience to project their own narratives onto them, but then adds his own commentary. It's distracting and self-sabotaging.
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a great idea for a book! There are wonderful and provocative pictures, something for everyone. Very fun story seeds. My nieces both sat with this book on their own for a while.
Philippa Smith
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Introduces children to different artists- gets them thinking about the picture. Can build on the thoughts already written. Can be used to inspire their own work in a style of their favourite artist
Connie D
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have mixed feelings about this book.

I love the idea (introduce children to the joys of art) and presentation. First, Quentin Blake uses drawn children to introduce a painting, holding a banner with the artist's name and perhaps props and costumes related to the picture. Second, a picture is displayed without any info, giving children and adults a chance to think about what's happening, make their own assumptions about the story/characters depicted, and just take time with art without any sugg
Feb 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nice quick way of getting my children (9 and 11) to look at 26 (alphabetical artists) lesser known paintings dating from 1470 to 1999. The painting is one side and Quentin Blake makes a couple of comments about the picture on the other side. It gets them thinking. e.g. "K. This picture is by Ken Kiff. ... He doesn't look very happy. I wonder why not. .. Clowns are like that sometimes."
Reed McMurray
Apr 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Tell Me a Picture" by Quentin Blake has a new take on information text for readers. Blake has chosen 26 painting, or photos, to introduce and examine in his book. After each image there are characters observing and commenting on what they see in each image.

I think this is an excellent way to engage young readers, and get them thinking in a different way. Informational text may not be every students favorite genre, but this can change that for them. Instead of reading long paragraphs of informa
Drew Graham
Nov 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids
Art of all kinds tells stories of all kinds, and you're never too young to start analyzing and appreciating fine artwork.

This is a collection of artwork curated by famed and unique illustrator Quentin Blake, and even if a lot of it goes over the heads of kids as young as ours it's a fun little museum visit, and it's never too early to learn about how to understand and interpret art. This collection is a good prelude to visiting an art museum, and it featured a lot of pieces and artists I don't r
Charlotte Osborn-bensaada
26 pictures from the National Gallery roughly arranged alphabetically. Quentin Blake takes each picture and isolates one aspect and has drawn gallery comment. Most of these pictures are not your popular calendar pictures but represent a very wide range of artists. What is useful is that it helps children think about different aspects of a painting such as the expression of a figure, a story it it is telling or just the shape of the hands.
Quentin Blake (who I wish was my friend in real life) presents 26 pieces of art, one for every letter of the alphabet and each with a strong sense of story, to invite study, interaction, and narration by children and adults. His characters' comments help you along. I saw the exhibit that this book was based on in London in 2001 and wished I'd thought of it. And also that I was Quentin Blake.
Edward Sullivan
Nov 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art, alphabet-books
A wonderful collection of artwork from the National Gallery in London for young children organized around an alphabetical theme. The book concludes with illustrated and annotated attributions for each work and a list of locations/credits. A great book for teaching visual literacy.
Jan 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jnf-700
It was fun making up stories to go along with the pictures, and then to read in the end matter what the painter originally intended. Includes a mix of stand-alone paintings and picture book illustrations.
Elaine Bearden
I love the way Quentin Blake uses his own whimsical illustrations to introduce different pieces of art - before and after each art piece, with characters making comments to help make the art real and relevant to the viewer. Could use this with a writing group, too.
Jul 28, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this today. It was brilliant. But to be fair it is mainly a picture book :p It was really helpful to be reminded that it is good and helpful to look at a piece of art and just see how your emotions react to it, even if you dont like it. I particularly like Jozef Wilkons picture.
Dlmoore83 Moore
something from the chicago museum of art....good stuff...enjoyed how pieces were presented - open ended, inviting the use of imagination....

the short info in the back about taking kids to museums was excellent -- and the way we try to do museums as well...
Nov 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: efl, children
Another wonderful book by Quentin Blake. His lovely illustrations encourage readers to imagine stories of the world famous paintings. How you interpret them is all up to you. Again, this approach has worked great in my EFL classes with kids - they enjoy making up and telling about stories.
Oct 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art
Fantastic set up: alphabet book about art/artists, framed by kids asking questions and commenting on the paintings.
Mar 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is arranged in alphabetical order of artist and includes work by painters and illustrators. A book that can be returned to as children's interests and experience grow.
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Quentin Saxby Blake, CBE, FCSD, RDI, is an English cartoonist, illustrator and children's author, well known for his collaborations with writer Roald Dahl.

Blake was educated at Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar School. His English teacher, JH Walsh, influenced his ambition to become involved in literature. His first published drawing was for the satirical magazine Punch, at the age of 16. He