When the owner of Splosh Art Gallery calls in sick, it’s up to a scrawny, bespectacled boy (looking a bit like a young Andy Warhol) and readers (age range 7-10) to prepare for an exhibition in time for the annual gallery competition. So readers are on a quest to make the judges believe that the gallery deserves to win the prestigious competition. Readers will find out about and prove that they know Munch from Magritte, Pollock from Picasso, Kandinsky from Klee and more. They will search for a counterfeit painting, spot an odd one out, decide what’s ‘real’ art and more. Meanwhile, they almost constantly have to outwit devious Don (who has an uncanny resemblance to Salvador Dalí) as he tries to trip them up.
Rather than progressing through the book chronologically, readers are led on with questions, riddles and puzzles, and depending on their answers, progress in different directions. Clues are dotted along the way and wrong turns are redirected. So the book is a fun game as well as a way of learning about modern art; a novel introduction to dozens of influential artists.
It was a fun book to write and plan – with great designer, illustrator and editor who all helped to make sense of the non-chronological confusion where necessary. More to follow in the series.
Modern Art Mayhem by Susie Hodge, published by QED