From School Library Journal
Grade 3 Up–The collection at the recently re-opened Museum of Modern Art in New York City forms the framework for this cheeky foray into contemporary art appreciation. While trying to find his friend in Manhattan, a boy asks a passerby, "Have you seen Art?" and sets off a chain of events that propels him through the museum on an unexpected journey of artistic discovery. Once inside, every variation of his "where is Art?" request compels helpful museum-goers to respond in a more esoteric fashion as each visitor briefly introduces the works of his or her favorite contemporary artist to the narrator. After a thorough, eye-opening tour, the boy finds himself back where he started. But now when he is asked, "Did you find art?" he resoundingly replies, "YES!" And, on the final page, he does; Art is waiting for him outside the museum doors. The unusually long and narrow shape of the book and the stylized characters echo the modern-art theme while the muted background tones are an effective foil for the well-reproduced if sometimes diminutive artwork. The hip, first-person narrative is deliberately repetitive but becomes somewhat tiresome as the book's length appears to be determined more by providing a broad overview of the museum's holdings than by a compelling plot. Pair this with Anthony Browne's The Shape Game
(Farrar, 2003) before a museum visit or as part of an art appreciation unit. For anyone planning a trip to MoMA with a youngster, this is a provocative read.–Carol Ann Wilson, formerly at Westfield Memorial Library, NJ
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Gr. 5-8. In November 2004, New York City's Museum of Modern Art reopened in an expanded building. This offering celebrates the new digs and reviews some of the museum's greatest hits. A squiggly haired chap on the streets of New York searches for his friend, named Art. Instead, he is directed to the museum, where he continues to ask for his pal, and museumgoers enthusiastically show him favorite works from the collection. Finally, upon leaving the galleries, the guy finds his friend waiting. The "who's on first" joke makes a flimsy story at best. Also frustrating are the too-small reproductions of the famous artworks that are incorporated into the collage illustrations. What does come through in the irreverent text and the illustrations is the message that art is made in many media and that it can touch each person differently and profoundly. Not a necessary purchase, but this whimsical title might make a good preface to a day at the museum for elementary- and middle-school students. Planned notes about the included artworks weren't available in galley. Gillian EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved