Book review: The Museum

A little girl is inspired by her trip to a museum. Photo: Peter H. Reynolds

Silver Spring, Md, March 30, 2013 – The Museum by Susan Verde, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds, ISBN: 9781419705946

The story follows a little girl on her journey through a museum and how the art inspires her. She sees paintings and sculptures that send her into a world of motion. She dances like the ballet dancer, she spins and swirls like the stars in Van Gogh’s The Starry Night, and thinks like Rodin’s sculpture. Other works of art engage her emotions. Picaso’s blue period work makes her feel sad, The Scream makes her feel scared, and other works make her feel hungry.

She travels from masterpiece to masterpiece until she comes to a large blank canvas. She wonders if she is missing something. She wonders if it is a joke. Then she shuts her eyes. She begins to see colors and shapes. She realizes it is there it inspire her so that she can find her creativity, and she can fill the blank space in her mind. When it’s time to leave, the girl carries her inspiration and her experience home with her.

Parents who have an appreciation for fine art will find resonance with the little girl’s opening statement, “When I see a work of art, something happens in my heart.” This is a good book to introduce very young children to art and the concept of a museum. The story and wording are simple, so this is an appropriate book for young children.  The character and her journey through the museum are engaging enough that older children can relate to her trip and how the art sparks her imagination.

However, do not think you can find the exact museum this book was based off of and recreate the girl’s journey with your own little one. The famous works of art depicted here are scattered around the globe in different museums, but that does not mean you cannot have an artistic adventure of your own at your local museum.

Photo by J. Aaron Farr. Click to enlarge.


The illustrations are whimsical and the famous works of art are rendered in the same style as the main character. The works of art that are chosen are not copies of the original, but are recognizable to most adults.

Illustrator Peter Reynolds is well established. Having written and illustrated eight of his own books, and providing illustrations for another 20 books, including the Judy Moody series, he is a veteran. He has won the Oppenheim Platinum Toy Award, Borders Books’ Original Voices 2003 Award, the Christopher Medal, and the American Library Association’s 2005 Carnegie Medal of Excellence.  His work is key to bringing this book alive.

Photo by Robynlou Kavanagh.


This is Susan Verde’s first book. Published by Henry Abrams, Inc in March 2013, it is available as a hardcover or ebook.

Follow Brighid on Twitter a @BrighidMoret and receive updates when new columns post on Facebook or Google+. Read more about first time parenting issues in Parenting the First Time Through at The Communities at The Washington Times. Find more reviews of children’s picture books at Big Reads For Little Hands.

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Brighid Moret

Brighid is a freelance writer and first time mother.  She holds an MA in Writing from Johns Hopkins University.  Find her on Facebook @Brighid Moret


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