A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The Museum of Modern Art. Three iconic paintings: Pablo Picasso's Three Musicians, Henri Rousseau's The Sleeping Gypsy, Henri Matisse's Icarus. Museums have a checkroom. Landmark New York City scenes and iconic experiences: Times Square, Central Park, Statue of Liberty, Cyclone roller coaster at Coney Island, Brooklyn Bridge, hot dog stand, subway, taxi. Building murals.
Museums and art are fun and interesting. Kids can make art themselves. Kids can be inspired by the works of prominent artists. All kids can have access to and fully enjoy museums, and participate as artists.
Positive Role Models
The active, happy protagonist is a boy of color who lives in the city. He rides his skateboard across the bridge, actively seeking out the museum. He's entranced by the art there. He leads the figures from the paintings on a merry romp through the city. At the end, inspired by the artwork he experienced, he makes art himself, brightening his own neighborhood.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Imagine! is a wordless picture book by Raúl Colón (Draw!) about a boy who visits New York City's Museum of Modern Art and has an adventure with characters there who step out of paintings. The boy is a kid of color who might be Latino like Colón himself, and who rides his skateboard to the museum from Brooklyn. The mood is fun and spirited, using magic and fantasy to playfully poke holes in the stale idea that museums are drearily serious places. In this book, they're quite exciting.
Is It Any Good?
Joy jumps off the pages of this book, just as the characters pictured in the museum magically leap out of their iconic paintings. Imagine! effectively makes the case that museums need not be viewed as stodgy, out-of-reach places. In the author's note, author-illustrator Raúl Colón reveals that he himself didn't get to an art museum until he was an adult, so he's happy to swing open the museum door, inviting kids in.
Though the book is wordless, it has a well-crafted, engaging storyline. And the art's double the fun. Colón manages to recognizably depict the three actual paintings, while altering the figures just enough so they can dance and cavort through the streets of New York. The boy's a great role model. He looks so frothily happy, it's clear he's found his artistic home. And that box of colored chalk visible throughout in his back pocket? He puts it to very satisfying creative use at the end.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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