Children’s Book Review – Make Believe

Cover Image for Make Believe

Make Believe by the National Gallery of Victoria

This book was Shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book of the Year Awards – Eve Pownall Award for Information Books

Stars, mirrors, eye tricks and the impossible! These are just a few of the things that inspired artist M. C. Escher (Maurits) to create some of the most fascinating images of the twentieth century.In this book, read about the artist’s life, his travels, and his passion for creating optical illusions that play tricks with our minds. Along the way, learn about the anatomy of the eye and test your wits with riddles and quizzes.

If you are unfamiliar with Escher’s work a search or visit to his website would be a great introduction to the amazing work of M.C. Escher.

Alternatively, for a little bit of an idea of the mathematics behind the work and some background on how he got started check out the snippet from a BBC Four video on his mathematical art.

I have enjoyed M.C. Escher’s work since I first saw it years ago. And I still find such wonder in what he created as well as his skill. I like lots of things about the work, the symmetry, the way the pictures interact with themselves, and the skill that is visible in the drawings.

This book does a good job of showcasing Escher’s work through a range of topics. To begin with we learn about Escher’s life from his early life in the Netherlands to his father’s wish for him to study architecture and how he found his passion. Then we get into Escher’s art.

The book is full of examples of Escher’s work and if for nothing else it is a delight to look at. But the book also includes tips and information for the budding artist. Whether that be looking at perspectives and then looking closely at one of Escher’s drawings and seeing the principle in action, or looking at eye tricks. Or the life cycle of an ant while examining a picture Escher drew of ants on a moebius strip.

There is so much to explore in this book that I had a great time reading it. I admit to just looking through for the pictures on the first read and then going back and looking at it more closely on the second go. But, you don’t need to read all of the book, it’s written in such a way that you can bounce through it back and forth as it suits. The book was created by the National Gallery of Victoria in association with Gemeentemuseum Den Haag and they have done an excellent job. I think this would be a great read for any child who has an interest in art or maths as well as any child from upper primary on.