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BEHIND THE MUSEUM DOOR by Lee Bennett Hopkins


Poems to Celebrate the Wonders of Museums

edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins & illustrated by Stacey Dressen-McQueen

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: April 1st, 2007
ISBN: 0-8109-1204-X
Publisher: Abrams

Hopkins selects 14 child-appealing poems centered on the allure of museums and their treasures. Most poems speculate about precious artifacts of the past, as in “Suit of Armor,” by Beverly McLoughland and “The Moccasins,” by Kristine O’Connell George. Others, such as Hopkins’s titular poem and the apt closer, “Museum Farewell,” by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, focus on the experience of the museum as trove, itself precious and tinged with mystery. Dressen-McQueen’s full-bleed, mixed-media treatments are uneven. Winning portrayals of wriggling, dancing multicultural children against pleasing color fields contrast with spreads in which pastiches of artifacts appear crowded and muddy. A delightful poem by Alice Schertle, “O Trilobite,” garners an intriguing treatment: Trilobites of varying sizes array colorfully against the blue-black of the deep sea. The illustration for “Journey of the Woolly Mammoth” seems stylistically unrelated to others, looking more like a sketch than a finished piece. Still, the poems are well chosen, the little field-trippers sweet and the topic rather thinly covered in the literature. Buy where needed. (Picture book/poetry. 5-9)