Behind the Museum Door: Poems to Celebrate the Wonders of Museums


Praise for Lee Bennett Hopkins

University of Southern Mississippi Medallion for "outstanding ...
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Praise for Lee Bennett Hopkins

University of Southern Mississippi Medallion for "outstanding contributions to the field of children's literature"

Parents Choice Gold Award winner

Christopher Award winner

"Hopkins . . . captures the wonder and exuberance of childhood."-School Library Journal

Fourteen poems on the many dazzling collections featured in museums

The art, artifacts, and anthropological treasures found in museum collections are coupled with stunning poetry by acclaimed writers Lee Bennett Hopkins, Jane Yolen, Myra Cohn Livingston, Rebecca Kai Dotlich, and many more in this unique volume. Perfect for art, natural history, and children's museums, this is also an ideal book for classroom teachers before they bring their students on a museum visit. The lively verse captures the wonder and amazement of the exhibition experience, from mummies to medieval relics, and from fine art to fossils.

Selected by children's poetry luminary Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by award-winning artist Stacey Dressen-McQueen, Behind the Museum Door will allow young readers to bring the experience home with them to enjoy again and again, long after the museum doors are closed.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Michelle H. Martin
Framed by a class visit to a museum, this collection of poems explores an array of experiences children might have after entering this fascinating space. Myra Cohn Livingston's poem "Mummy" asks readers to imagine what we might learn from a mummy if he could "speak to me / The riddle of / His history," while the speaker of Jane Yolen's poem "Wheels" speculates about what in nature prompted the first humans to invent the wheel, marveling at the role wheels play in contemporary society. Stark color contrasts between the visiting children and many of the museum pieces offer a visual juxtaposition between the youth of the children and the age of the dinosaur bones, statues, and suits of armor. Stacey Dressen-McQueen's illustrations look, too, like artwork children might encounter in a museum, further encouraging their appreciation of the visual arts. In this book, Lee Bennett Hopkins has provided a rich poetic resource for preparing youngsters for an upcoming museum visit or for "debriefing" after such a visit.
School Library Journal

Gr 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 SchepsCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810912045
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/4/2007
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.87 (w) x 10.75 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Lee Bennett Hopkins has written and edited numerous award-winning books of poetry for children. A renowned poet who sponsors an annual poetry award, Lee lives in Cape Coral, Florida.

Stacey Dressen-McQueen was recognized in Publishers Weekly's annual Cuffie feature as a "promising new illustrator." She lives in Portland, Oregon.

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