Verde and Reynolds deliver a simple premise with a charming payoff.
A lithe young girl (could she be the granddaughter of Jules Feiffer’s Village Voice Dancer?) gambols through a museum and responds to the art on the walls. Excited and enchanted, she almost dances through the galleries filled with work by such greats as Munch, Cezanne, Degas, Rodin and Van Gogh. Though the story unfolds in sometimes-awkward verse (“When I see / a work of art, / something / happens in / my heart. / I cannot stifle / my reaction. / My body just goes / into action”), Reynolds’ appealing pen-and-ink–with-wash illustrations are deceptively simple and wonderfully fluent. Employing a confident cartoony line that is at once elegant and eloquent, he adds subtle color to suggest and animate feelings and emotions. By the book’s close, primed by all the works of art she has seen, she projects her own imaginative images on a large, minimalist, “blank” white canvas. As she regretfully leaves the galleries, she now knows that “The museum lives / inside of me.”
Despite the missteps provoked by Verde’s verse, this “twirly-whirly” homage to a museum is, on balance, a sweet-natured and handsome celebration. (Picture book. 3-7)