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Behind the Museum Door: Poems to Celebrate the Wonders of Museums Hardcover – April 4, 2007


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From School Library Journal

Grade 3–5—This collection of poems touches on the sights and sensations a group of children experience on a field trip. Inside the museum, they encounter a suit of armor, a mummy, a dinosaur skeleton, an ancient wheel, paintings (Picasso, Cassat, Renoir), a modern mobile, a fossil, and an old tapestry. Selections are by such poets as Lilian Moore, Jane Yolen, Alice Schertle, and Myra Cohn Livingston—one per spread—shown amid the subjects they portray. Each of Dressen-McQueen's folk-art-style "exhibits," carefully crafted in acrylic paint, oil pastel, and colored pencil, successfully captures and reinforces the mood of its accompanying poem. For a poetic museum field trip from a child's point of view, try Susan Katz's Mrs. Brown on Exhibit (S & S, 2002). Both books can add excitement and fun to an impending museum visit or help inspire a class to summarize a recent trip.—Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The awe and curiosity that museums inspire is the subject of this bright, energetic poetry collection. The selections, contributed by many familiar poets writing for children, marvel at how easily artifacts transport viewers into history. Many of the poems read like private thoughts: "Pictures on the wall / look into lives / back when / I was not / anyone at all," writes Felice Holman in "Museum." In other poems, kids directly address ancient objects and make connections with their funny, casual words: "Hey there, Brontosaurus . . . How were the good old days?" asks the speaker in Lilian Moore's selection. Several poems add shivery drama by imagining ghosts come to claim their objects: "Watch for her tonight--tiptoe-- / across the cold tile--open-- / the glass shoe case / --reclaim her shoes," writes Kristine O'Connell George. Working in acrylic, oil-pastel, and colored pencil, Dressen-McQueen creates brilliantly colored, crowded spreads that greatly reinforce, rather than overwhelm, the meaning and mood in the well-selected poems. A perfect read-aloud before a class field trip. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (April 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081091204X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810912045
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.5 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #878,060 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on May 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Behind the Museum Door: Poems to Celebrate the Wonders of Museums is a hodgepodge of poems written by such diverse and lauded individuals as Jane Yolen, Myra Cohn Livingston, and Rebecca Kai Dotlich, and illustrated with unforgettable acrylic and oil pastel artwork by award-winning artist Stacey Dessen-McQueen, all celebrating the treasury of knowledge, wisdom and wonder in museums. Each two-page spread features a different poem and theme, in this lovely read-aloud anthology that makes the perfect souvenir for a child's museum visit. "Stirring Art: Beauty / suspended in / suspense. // A breath of air / awakens / lifeless form - // See / it / dance."
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Format: Hardcover
Reviewed by Brianne Plach for Reader Views (5/07)

Why do we have to go to the museum anyway? That sounds like a boring field trip! You have probably said it yourself. A museum isn't as much fun as going to a water park, stadium or a state park. What lies within the museum's walls have a history all their own. Lee Bennett Hopkins has selected a wide range of poems about museums in this collection. "Behind the Museum Door" talks about things like a suit of armor, mummies, Native Americans, forms of art and a whole bunch more.

Stacey Dressen-Mc Queen has brought every poem to life with her bright colors and children smiling and enjoying each part of the museum. "Behind the Museum Door" would be a great addition to primary-grade classrooms to help introduce the children to a museum experience before going on a field trip. This book is written for younger kids than this reviewer but it's an enjoyable book for young children.

You never know what exciting things can lie within the museum walls. Reading the book "Behind the Museum Door" is almost as much fun as discovering what lies behind the museum's door.

Book received free of charge.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kirsten G. Cutler on March 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Behind the museum door: poems to celebrate the wonders of museums

Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Stacey Dressen-McQueen.

Previously published and new poems by the likes of Myra Cohn Livingston, Lilian Moore, Jane Yolen, and J. Patrick Lewis celebrate the many treasures found in museums. Lee Bennett Hopkins starts with his poem, Behind the Museum Door that lists some of these treasures: "Ancient necklaces, African art, armor of knights, a peasant cart", and all these objects are vibrantly illustrated in a two-page spread.

Beverly McLoughland in her poem, Suit of Armor pens:

In its human shape

of molded steel,

It looks as though

There's someone real

Inside. You Knock:

"Hello in there,"

And hear a dull

Echo of air

As though a voice

Were drifting through

The lonely centuries

To you.

A girl stares wonderingly at the suit of armor and in the background a knight on a horse fights a dragon.

Another poem, Stirring Art shows multicultural children dancing underneath a mobile.

Beauty

suspended in

suspence.

A breath of air

Awakens

Lifeless form--

See

it

dance.

O Trilobite by Alice Schertle is an ode to these little microscopic creatures. She begins her poem with:

O trilobite, there are a few,

here in the Fossil Room, of you.

Once billions strong you ruled the sea,

A Cambrian Age majority.

Trilobites swim across a dark page surrounding the words that are set against a teal background.
Read more ›
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