museum

The Museum by Susan Verde, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

Verde captures the energizing nature of a visit to an art museum.  Told in first-person verse, the young female protagonist dances and spins through the gallery, drawing inspiration and emotion from the art around her.  As she moves to a new piece of art, it evokes a new reaction that is entirely in keeping with the art in front of her.  Finally, faced with a blank white canvas, she discovers that her own mind starts to fill in the art on its own.  As she leaves the museum at the end of the day, her world is transformed by the art she has seen that she now carries along with her.  This is an engaging story of a museum visit that is sure to inspire young readers to want to try it for themselves.

Verde’s verse is filled with motion and zing.  While some may see visiting a museum as a more sedentary and intellectual activity, Verde fills it with motion and emotion alike.  She conveys through the young girl’s physical reaction what is happening to her mentally.  It is a very successful take on the transformational quality of art and how it can speak on many levels to viewers.

Reynolds’ art adds to the feel of motion and engagement in the book.  His young figure is constantly in motion, even when she takes a short break, she is inspired by art.  Reynolds’ illustrations are done in his signature fluid style, yet he is able to capture different art periods very effectively.

Ideal to use with a class before a museum exhibit or with children before a family visit to a museum, this is also a book that will inspire reflection about art during a regular day.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Abrams.