An engaging and enlivening introduction for kids and adults alike.

MEET ME AT THE ART MUSEUM

A WHIMSICAL LOOK BEHIND THE SCENES

True to the subtitle, this book’s cover delivers an amusing yet informative tour of an art museum.

Once inside, endpapers reveal a museum floor plan complete with iconic signage to both orient youngsters and welcome them to a lively behind-the-scenes tour of an imagined museum. The guides are an old-school–style, green-paper entry ticket named Stub and a pink-and-white “Hello my name is” sticker called Daisy, the museum docent’s helper. Daisy takes Stub on a wonderful wander from the coat check through storage, galleries and more. Security and art protection are pleasingly detailed by the anthropomorphized museum security badge (Badge), even as the two continue to check out the museum’s kid-pleasing innards: temperature and climate controls, the cafe, water fountains, escalators, museum shop—even the art library. But when Stub wanders off into the conservation lab, a fan blows him into a freshly varnished collage (a humorous takeoff on Matisse’s Dancers).  Stub gets his wish. Firmly fixed on canvas, Stub is now part of the museum’s permanent collection. Author, illustrator and fine artist Goldin collages in a number of iconic, favorite works of art and cleverly enlivens the collection with his own appealing and marvelously amusing sculptural assemblages.

An engaging and enlivening introduction for kids and adults alike. (“Who’s Who at the Museum,” glossary, list of works) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0187-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012

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An entertaining, if light, addition to the growing shelf of celebrity-authored picture books.

BUSY BETTY

Actor and author Witherspoon makes her picture-book debut.

Betty, a light-skinned, bespectacled child with blond pigtails, was born busy. Constantly in motion, Betty builds big block towers, cartwheels around the house (underfoot, of course), and plays with the family’s “fantabulous” dog, Frank, who is stinky and dirty. That leads to a big, busy, bright idea that, predictably, caroms toward calamity yet drags along enough hilarity to be entertaining. With a little help from best friend Mae (light-skinned with dark hair), the catastrophe turns into a lucrative dog-washing business. Busy Betty is once again ready to rush off to the next big thing. Yan uses vivid, pastel colors for a spread of a group of diverse kids bringing their dogs to be washed, helping out, and having fun, while the grown-ups are muted and relegated to the background. Extreme angles in several of the illustrations effectively convey a sense of perpetual motion and heighten the story’s tension, drawing readers in. An especially effective, glitter-strewn spread portrays Frank looming large and seemingly running off the page while Betty looks on, stricken at the ensuing mess. Though it’s a familiar and easily resolved story, Witherspoon’s rollicking text never holds back, replete with amusing phrases such as “sweet cinnamon biscuits,” “bouncing biscuits,” and “busted biscuits.” As Betty says, “Being busy is a great way to be.” Young readers are sure to agree. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An entertaining, if light, addition to the growing shelf of celebrity-authored picture books. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-46588-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flamingo Books

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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Pleasant but slightly pedestrian.

THE THREE BILLY GOATS GRUFF

Fairy-tale fun for everyone. (Except trolls.)

Barnett and Klassen partner for a retelling of the classic folktale about a trio of variously sized goats (all named Gruff) and a troll whose greed ultimately leads to his downfall. The story has been told many times, but in this variation, Barnett shows off for his audience by giving the troll a substantial amount of dialogue, most of which rhymes: “I love goat! Let me count the ways. / Goat rump in a honey glaze. / Goat smoked, goat poached, a goat pot roast. / Goat smorgasbord! Goat smeared on toast! / A goat kale salad—hold the kale. / Goat escargot! (That’s goat plus snails.) / On goat I’ll dine, on goat I’ll sup. / You little goat, I’ll eat you up!” It’s amusing verbal play, and librarians and caregivers who love to read out loud will enjoy hamming it up, although it may lessen the scary impact of the character. Likewise, the artwork, created in ink, watercolor, and graphite and compiled digitally, is pure Klassen, and the brown, green, and blue tones combine into an earthy setting where the ratlike troll (sans tail) fits in perfectly. But the visual reveal of the third billy goat takes a bit of oomph out of the story, as readers will be able to anticipate that this troll won’t be having goat strudel anytime soon. Fans of either Barnett or Klassen will love this retelling, but librarians won’t be sending their Paul Galdone or Jerry Pinkney retellings out to pasture just yet. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Pleasant but slightly pedestrian. (Folktale. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-3386-7384-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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