Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Illustrator Study: Barbara Lehman Day #2

Museum Trip
Illustrated by Barbara Lehman
Houghton Mifflin, 2006

This book begins by introducing us to our main character, a boy who lags a little behind when he goes on a school field trip to a museum. While the other children are looking at fascinating pictures and sculptures, the boy stops to tie his shoe. When he looks up, his class is gone. He looks for them briefly and then discovers more interesting things.

He goes through a door that leads to a room of pictures of mazes. He studies each one, imagining himself making his way through the twists and turns of each. As a reader we escape into these mazes with him and the mazes take on life-size existence. In the last maze, the boy enters a tower and receives a medal. After winning “the prize” for success in each maze, he rejoins his class, still looking at pictures in the museum. No one seems to have missed him while he was gone exploring his imagination. And in this book the reader notices that it’s not another child who has also escaped into the same imaginative exploring, but it’s the museum guide.

I love that last touch. I think it’s wonderful that Lehman celebrates not only a child’s imagination, but also an adult’s imagination.

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