Your Friday Five

Southeast Library

Your Friday Five

Museums by Picture Books

As a child I went to a lot of museums with my artistic grandmother. Lucky for her, I loved them as much as she did. I even liked reading books about museums! As an adult, I still like reading books about museums.

Here are some of the titles that got me started. For families who love art or adventures, these artistic adventures are a fun way to explore museums or prepare for a visit from the comfort of home. 

Museum Trip by Barbara Lehmann

Lehmann’s wordless picture books inspire conversation and observation between kids and adults. Plus they're great solo reads for the 4 to 6 set who may still be gaining or improving their reading skills. In Museum Trip a little boy gets literally lost in the art on his school trip - and finds his way out again! 

You Can’t Take a Balloon Into The National Gallery by Jacqueline Preiss Wietzman and Robin Preiss Glasser

Our hometown of Washington, D.C. gets its own edition of Jacqueline Preiss Weitzman’s You Can’t Take a Balloon Into… series of picture books. Flying around the Mall the eponymous balloon shows readers that life in D.C. often echoes the artworks housed nearby. Historical characters hidden throughout the book make it into a fun scavenger hunt for older readers, too.

Seen Art? by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith

Everyone has an opinion about what makes great art! Especially the characters in this book: they all want to show this little boy where he can find the best artworks in the Museum of Modern Art. At first he is skeptical, but by the end of this image-packed book, he comes to love art from paintings to installations and everything inbetween. Seen Art?'s wide range of art, all held by the MOMA, wins this book the prize for variety. 

Babar's Museum of Art by Laurent de Brunhoff

In this addition to de Brunhoff's classic Babar titles, the royal elephants create a city museum with their art collection, inspring their family and neighbors to enjoy art and embrace creativity. Featuring classic paintings and sculptures re-done in elephantine versions, Babar's Museum of Art includes relatable commentary from Babar's children that will make kids feel comfortable talking about art. 

Linnea in Monet's Garden by Christina Bjork and Lena Anderson

Not all museums are large buildings filled with art; some museums are important homes and gardens. Claude Monet's house in Giverny, France, is one of these museums. Linnea, this book's lucky main character, visits Monet's garden and sees some of his best paintings in Paris. Linnea in Monet's Garden also explains the history of Monet's family and his impressionist painting style. This text-heavy book is better for slightly older readers. 

Thanks for joining me on this mini tour of museums by picture books. If you're interested in looking at more art you can browse our large collection of art books or search for favorite artworks using Oxford Art Online, which organizes thousands of images and artsy info for your easy browsing! Ask a librarian if you need more help looking for artwork on paper or online. 

happy looking, 
Mandy