Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary
Author: Hazel Hutchins
Illustrator: Gail Herbert
Publisher: Annick Press
Anna is bored. She can't roar at the lion or touch anything or even eat a snack on the floor. Why? Because these things aren't allowed in the Metropolitan Musem of Art! This is not the place for an active, rambunctious little girl like Anna. Then, just as Anna is about to violate another rule (a "Do Not Enter" sign), the museum attendant thinks he might be able to let her in after all. Anna enters a special room where paintings are being cleaned and restored and where people are studying art. One man is working on a painting of a little girl in a chair who looks just as bored as Anna feels. For the first time, Anna can relate to a painting. This opens a whole new experience for her, and as they go back out to the museum, she discovers a world of color and new vision! As they open the door to go home, Anna feels the air from the museum mix with the air outside, suggesting that her whole world has been changed.
This is a perfect book to prepare a child to go to a museum. It reviews many of the things that are inappropriate and shows how relating personally to a piece of art can entirely change the experience from negative to positive. The book also shows photos of actual artwork in the cartoon museum that Anna visits and has two pages in the back of the book that give fundamental information on the artwork shown. It would very useful for a parent or teacher to read the book to small children before a field trip so that they know what is appropriate behavior and so that some pieces of art will feel familiar. Anna's "mistakes" are handled with humor and museum employees are shown in a positive but authoritative light, which may help to put children at ease in a new environment with specific codes of conduct. This book is a useful tool and delightful read.