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"When I see a work of art,/ something happens in my heart./ I cannot stifle my reaction./ My body just goes into action." A girl in pigtails embodies the emotions elicited by the paintings she sees, leaping, twirling, giggling, and-inspired by the famous Munch work-even shrieking, as she tours a museum gallery filled with European and American masterpieces. The spirals of Starry Night make her spin, cubist portraits cause her to pull ugly faces ("He did it first!"), and Rodin's Thinker moves her to sit and "analyze/ the whos and whats and wheres and whys." An expanse of blank, white canvas puzzles her until she understands it as an invitation to project her own mental state onto it: "No longer blank,/ it's my creation.../ I am feeling such elation!" Reynolds's (Sky Color) swooping, calligraphic ink drawings give the pages balletic charm. The girl and her surroundings are rendered in light washes, while the paintings' colors are full and intense. Debut author Verde makes an engaging case for understanding art as an experience rather than an object. Ages 3-7. Agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
K-Gr 3-In rhyming couplets, a girl describes her reactions to the exhibits in an art museum. A painting of a ballerina makes her want to pose, Van Gogh makes her "all twirly-whirly," some blue Cubism makes her "sad and blue," and she collapses in giggles at the sight of some squiggly abstract art. Finally, a blank white canvas first confuses, then inspires, her as she thinks of all the art she could fill it with. This book's strong point is the way it communicates a fresh, playful, childlike perspective on art and normalizes childlike responses to it. The idea that posing, laughing, and curious questions are all appropriate museum behavior may be a new one for both children and parents, and knowing this is sure to make for more enjoyable museum visits. Unfortunately, the pedestrian verse scans quite awkwardly, lessening the impact of the text. The explanation of the "blank canvas" is misleading as well-a white canvas hanging in a museum is likely not "mine to fill/the way I choose," as the narrator concludes. On the other hand, the cartoon illustrations are pleasantly uncluttered and full of energy. They include riffs on several famous works of art, though they are not identified by name and artist. An additional purchase.-Rachael Stein, Eastern Shore Regional Library, Salisbury, MD (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
When I see a work of art, something happens in my heart. So begins the journey of a young girl through a museum where the pictures she sees set off a whirlwind of emotions. The Starry Night gets her all twirly-whirly, twinkly, sparkly, super swirly. Munch's The Scream is frightful. But it's the huge blank canvas on the wall that stops her in her tracks. What does it mean? Is it a joke? But when she closes her eyes, the girl sees colors and shapes in her head and realizes she can create a picture with her own ideas and imagination. The rhymed text captures the excitement of a being sparked by art, though the poetry is forced at times. Reynolds' breezy pictures overcome the shortcomings in ink drawings touched with colors that have their own twirly, whirly movement. Set against crisp white pages, both the girl and the pictures she views stand out. A note about the pictures and artists the book references would have added to the book's usefulness, but still, this is a fun read-aloud.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2010 Booklist