I believe that reading the right book can be a transformative experience. As a mother, former longtime bookseller and ardent reader of children's literature, I want to help kids start their reading journey on the right path. Insightful reviews and excellent suggestions of similar titles will ensure that readers are never without a good book in hand. My new job as an assistant to a literary agent is helping me to hone my critical skills and bring you the very best of the best in kids' books.
Meet Me at the Art Museum: A Whimsical Look Behind the Scenes by David Goldin
It took having three kids to figure this out, but one parental philosophy I rely heavily on (no doubt because of my passion for books and belief that there is a good book in this world to address any issue or need) is the importance of preparing my children before they embark on a new experience. Whether it is what to anticipate when going to the doctor for a shot, what to expect when flying alone on an airplane or what kind of behavior is appropriate when you have to go with mom to a boring meeting, I like to give my kids as much information as possible to prepare for the best outcome possible. For many kids, a trip to an art museum is an outing that calls for some preparation. Not only for laying out behavioral expectations, but also for preparing kids of any age to get the most out of their experience, making it more than a walk through a big, boring building filled with paintings and stuff.
David Goldin's wonderful new book Meet Me at the Art Museum: A Whimsical Look Behind the Scenes is perfect for this very thing! Although the googly-eyed, anthropomorphized ticket stub and name tag (Stub and Daisy) who star in this book make it appealing to the youngest museum goers, Goldin includes a wide range of information about an art museum, including a glossary and title list of all the art work included in the book.
You've heard me say it here before, but I LOVE MAPS and Meet Me at the Art Museum: A Whimsical Look Behind the Scenes has one on the endpapers! The narrative of Meet Me at the Art Museum: A Whimsical Look Behind the Scenes finds Stub asking Daisy, the docent's helper (docent definition included) for a tour of the museum. This is not a tour of the art within, as you might expect, but a tour of the parts, places and people that make the museum go. From the coat check room to a viewing and explanation of "symbol signage" that help visitors navigate the museum, Goldin focuses on aspects of the museum that many of us may not give a second thought to but might be of interest to young visitors who are not especially interested in the Rembrandts or Rodins in the room. A discussion of the job of curators, conservators and archivists to security features, librarians and the room where the damaged art work is fixed and restored, Goldin highlights aspects of an art museum that we take for granted - even the gift shop, cafe and drinking fountains.
The story of Daisy and Stub ends in this very room where Stub's eye is caught by a colorful, vibrant collage. Taking a closer look, a burst of air lifts him up and blows him onto the collage, which has just been sprayed with a fresh, sticky coat of varnish. Stuck on a work of art and happy to have a home in the museum, Stub finds himself part of The Dance, a David Goldin work inspired by Matisse.