James Mayhew cleverly introduces specific periods, artists, and works of art to children through his adventurous stories where the beguiling character, Katie, runs into "close calls" while jumping in and out of the art museum's paintings. Note that Mayhew has published many more "Katie" books; these were the only ones I could get my hands on.
Katie Meets the Impressionists ~ focuses on the Impressionists painters and features: The Luncheon and Field of Poppies by Claude Monet; Girl with a Watering Can and Her First Evening Out by Pierre Auguste Renoir; The Blue Dancers by Edgar Degas. I find the story and illustrations of this particular book the most charming in the series.
Katie and the Sunflowers ~ focuses on the Postimpressionists, specifically: Sunflowers and Cafe Terrace at Night by Vincent van Gogh; Breton Girls Dancing and Tahitian Pastorals by Paul Gauguin; and Still Life with Apples and Oranges by Paul Cezanne. This is my second favorite story of the series.
Katie and the Mona Lisa ~ focuses on masterpieces from the Italian Renaissance, specifically: Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, An Angel with a Lute by one of Leonardo's students, St. George and the Dragon by Raphael, Primavera by Sandro Botticelli, and The Lion of St. Mark by Vittore Carpaccio.
Katie's Sunday Afternoon ~ focuses on the Pointillists, specifically: Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, Bathers at Asnieres, and Entree du port de Honfleur by Georges-Pierre Seurat; Woman Hanging up the Washing by Camille Pissarro; and Portrait of Felix Feneon by Paul Signac.
On another note, Dogs' Night by Meredith Hooper and illustrated by Allan Curless and Mark Burgess gives a fanciful introduction to paintings (4 specific) in the National Gallery in London. As the story goes, each year the dogs jump out of their paintings for a frolic. But this year, mayhem ensues when several return to the wrong paintings.
Note: These books are recommended for ages 4-8.
So readers, please weigh in with any other child friendly art history suggestions? I'm just an eavesdropping novice in this genre.