Written based on the manuscripts of Dr. Seuss, illustrated by Andrew Joyner

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21 years after Dr. Seuss’s death, his wife, Audrey, was cleaning out their house and found a manuscript and sketches for a book called Horse Museum. Random House publishing completed the missing sections (which Dr. Seuss had left notes on, showing where he intended to go with the book), and published it with an artist who studied the sketches Dr. Seuss left and illustrated in a way to reflect the style and feeling of the original manuscript. Since 2019, this treasure has been available for everybody, and can be used as Dr. Seuss intended: to teach children about art!

As the title would suggest, this book takes us through a museum of art–of horses! Through fun, simple explanations and real examples of famous art we come to understand simple principles of a myriad of different art styles and techniques. We read brief histories behind some famous works of art, and simple explanations of art styles like impressionism and cubism. It shows all the art positively, and emphasizes that in every form, the pieces of art meant something to the artist and could mean something to you! In traditional Dr. Seuss style, each page is filled with colorful scenes showcasing the art in unique and exciting ways, with fast page turns and easy to follow writing.

The back of the book cites all the 35(!) different pieces of art referenced in the book with more details about the artist and piece if you want to learn more!

During the reading: 

  • The horse narrator asks many questions about the art throughout the book, including how a certain piece makes you feel, or what you think the artist was seeing in horses when they created their work! Take the time to have your child answer these questions and maybe even answer them yourself! Helping them to really reflect on those questions instead of just reading right through them will help them to make a personal connection to and appreciation of the art in a way that might not have been possible otherwise. 
  • Have fun with the famous art pieces! You might choose to ask your child to identify the different colors in a painting, or find a certain color on the page. If the narrator talks about a specific feature of a painting or sculpture, ask your child to find and point to it!
  • Similarly, there are repeated people and animals we see throughout the museum. You could ask your child to find them on the different pages as you go along!
  • Ask your child what they like about the different pieces (and why), and tell them what stands out to you from the art you look at. At the end of the book, you could ask them what their favorite was – and why! The why is so important because it will help them do meta-thinking and consider the reasons behind their own preferences (even if it’s really simple) which is so valuable for individuals to understand and it’ll give you an insight into their perspective as well! 

Themes: animals, art, appreciating others, imagination

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Have you tried any of these ideas? Comment below to share how they worked for your family!