A boy and his dog encounter dinosaurs and Duchamp on a class trip to the museum.
The dynamic European duo of Cali and Chaud (The Truth About my Unbelievable Summer..., 2016, etc.) once again combine for a cartoony odyssey. This time readers are introduced to a sprawling museum through a venturesome child’s singular perspective. The recurring, resilient, wild-haired, white protagonist, Henry, accompanied (as usual) by his long-nosed, lop-eared, doe-eyed dachshund, arrives late for a class trip to a major museum. No worries! They decide to explore on their own while they attempt to catch up with their class. There is a lot to see in these cramped and busy, busy spreads: T. Rex, lots of bones, a great whale, displays on evolution, a wooly mammoth, lively dioramas of Neanderthals and evolution, suits of armor, and even some fine art. Will kids recognize all the art references to the likes of Hopper, Duchamp, Calder, Fragonard, Escher, and more? Probably not. But they may relate to the sense of unabashed freedom and knowledge the museum presents and giggle at Henry’s eagerness to “finish” some abstract paintings, neaten up sprawling museum storage rooms, or smile at his dog’s uncanny resemblance to the iconic Mona Lisa.
While some readers may eagerly connect these sights and sensibilities with the Night at the Museum film franchise, this attempt at a rollicking shaggy dog tale will probably occupy urbane, art-loving adults longer than it will their kids. (Picture book. 5-8)