Museum TripSpring 2006 Picture Books
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Author: Barbara Lehman
Illustrator: Barbara Lehman
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Children's Books
Hardcover Price: $15.00
Review:In this reprise of Lehman’s Caldecott Honor title (The Red Book), the same red-jacketed, blue-sneakered, mop-haired, dot-eyed child is off on another adventure: this time to an art museum. Turning full-face to the reader on the title page as he waits in line to board a bright yellow school bus, he clearly and wordlessly signals: this book is about me. Moments later, when he stops to tie his unlaced shoe and loses track of his class, we know that the real story is about to begin. Stepping through a semi-concealed curved door, he encounters a glass case containing a series of six antique-looking mazes. In the blink of the imaginative eye, he enters the first maze and moves from one to another until he reaches a mysterious tower (with a similar semi-concealed curved door) at the center of the final one. Transit inside; peek through the keyhole; and an equally mysterious hand places a gold medal around his neck. Then it’s back out to rejoin the class and leave the museum. Sharp eyes will spot the white-haired guard on the final page wearing an identical medallion around his neck. The wordless storytelling is clear; the illustrations are crisply done; the character is charming; and the palette—especially the long central section of yellowed paper punctuated by a small red figure—is soothing. But the whole feels much less magical and more predetermined than it’s predecessor; the transit through time and space less surprising; and the outcome too predictable. A pleasant—even masterly—addition to the genre of wordless books, but not one that will lure young readers back for repeated readings.
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard ©2006 Parents' Choice
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard is the Coordinator of Youth Services for the Arlington Public Library system. She has taught courses on children’s and young adult literature at the Catholic University of America and the University of Virginia. She has served on both the Newbery and Caldecott Award Committees of the American Library Association and has chaired the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee and the May Hill Arbuthnot Award Committee. She is a member and past president of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington DC and has chaired the Washington Post–Book Guild Nonfiction Award Committee. She is a founding member of Capitol Choices, an organization of professionals in the field of children’s literature in the greater Washington DC area. She regularly reviews children’s literature and audio productions for a variety of national publications.
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