Simon at the Art Museum – written by Christina Soontornvat, illustrated by Christine Davenier

 Simon at the Art Museum – written by Christina Soontornvat, illustrated by Christine Davenier, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 9781534437524, 2020

Format: Hardcover

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Genre: Picture book

What did you like about the book? This is a fun museum story about Simon, who visits an art museum with his parents. At first he is not excited to look at all the art, and is looking forward to eating cheesecake instead. But when he starts to notice other visitors’ varying reactions to the art, his mindset is transformed and he then finds art that he appreciates in some of the same ways. This book easily encourages discussion about different types of art. There is a diversity of gender, skin color, age, religion, and physical ability of the museum visitors shown in the illustrations. The illustrations were incredible, as to be expected for a book about art. They really set the scene with the feel of a museum – the high ceilings, the large staircases, the long hallways, some rooms filled with art, other rooms more empty. The perspectives in the illustrations especially show how a child might feel short and at times separated from other people and the art while visiting a museum. 

Anything you did not like about the book. The ending was to be expected. 

To whom would you recommend this book? This would be perfect to read with children before (or after) visiting an art museum. Readers who like realistic fiction family books would enjoy it. I would give it to fans of Explorers (Cordell). 

Who should buy this book? Elementary school librarians, public librarians, art teachers

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Sarah Bickel, Greenlodge Elementary School, Dedham Massachusetts

Date of review: Dec. 20, 2020

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