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Anna at the Art Museum

book coverIn Anna at the Art Museum, by Hazel Hutchins and Gail Herbert, a little girl is the very picture of boredom.  With a frustrated frown on her face, and a stuffed giraffe by her side, Anna deems everything in the gallery to be “old and boring.” And then there are all the rules.  She tries to make her own experiential fun, like roaring at the Babylonian ceramic lion, but her playful efforts at engagement are dissuaded by the watchful attendant.  Anna wishes that “the museum could be turned inside out.  Or the world outside in” and this happens when the attendant invites her into a “secret workshop.”  In the art restoration studio, the curious child has an epiphany when she sees Mary Cassatt’s Little Girl in a Blue Armchair:  “She’s just like me … Or I’m just like her.”    

Art does indeed imitate life in the clever illustrations by Lil Crump that incorporate reproductions of many iconic museum pieces.  When Anna accidentally sets off the security bell, the alarmed faces of onlookers mimic Edvard Munch’s The Scream.  Observant readers will find many more similarities throughout the gallery tour, and an appendix details each artist and work that Anna encounters.  With its charming, realistic and relatable main character, Anna at the Art Museum is in a picture book master class. 

Anna at the Art Museum
by Hazel Hutchins and Gail Herbert; illustrations by Lil Crump
Annick Press

-- Linda Ludke, Librarian, Central Library