Book of the Month: Luna Loves Art
Luna Loves Art is Joseph Coelho and Fiona Lumbers’ delightful follow-up to Luna Loves Library Day. The two books share many common characteristics. The “Check!” motif as Luna puts books into her bag is replaced by an equally satisfying “Click!” as Luna takes photos of the art she sees. The art comes to life and spills out of the frames. And once again, like the books in the library, the art proves to have different and deeper meanings for the characters. This time it’s Luna’s classmate Finn having a tough time.
Like its predecessor, Luna Loves Art works on multiple levels, making it a great text to use across a relatively wide age range. The simple text and gorgeous, lively illustrations will appeal to very young children, along with the repeated Clicks that demand interaction. The narrative that Finn is upset and needs a friend is presented in a way that is easy to understand and discuss, while older children will be able to practice their inference skills through a range of devices that the authors employ in the text, the illustrations, and the way they interact with each other.
Luna Loves Art could fit into schemes of work on a variety of topics. It would make a great introduction to a unit looking at the work of artists – all of the artworks featured in the story are real. Finn and Luna’s responses to Moore’s Family Group and Rousseau’s Surprised could start a great discussion about how and why people feel connected with different works, how their own interpretations are valid and may even contrast with the artist’s intention. It could also be used as a stimulus for visual literacy – close reading of an artwork and looking at the details to find meaning, considering the choices the artist made and why.
Luna’s relationship with Finn, and their families (drawing on Luna Loves Library Day as well) could form part of PSHE schemes around empathy, friendship and different types of families.
In English, looking at the authors’ use of contrast to emphasise emotion could help to develop inference skills. Finn is emotionally closed off at the beginning of the story and this is reflected in the way he is described and illustrated. He does not speak until halfway through the story, and before that he is described only through his actions (“Finn is looking down.”). In the illustrations he is initially far away, small, hidden amongst the other children and the huge artworks around him. We never explicitly find out what has upset him – it takes inference and understanding of the range of techniques the authors use to portray this.
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