Friday, November 25, 2011

Poetry Friday - A review of Behind Museum Doors

When I was a child, I loved going to museums. On the island of Cyprus, where I grew up, the museum is arranged in such a way so that visitors can take a chronological journey through Cyprus' history. Then my parents took me to the British Museum in London, and I happily spent hours admiring mummies, dinosaurs and other wonders. I could not believe how huge the place was, and how much there was to see.

Today's poetry title looks at a few of the amazing things that children can experience when they go to a museum.

Behind the Museum Door: Poems to Celebrate the Wonders of MuseumsBehind the museum door: Poems to celebrate the wonders of museums
Edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Illustrated by Stacey Dressen McQueen
Poetry Picture book
For ages 7 to 10
Abrams, 2007, 978-0-8109-1204-5
   Museums are extraordinary places; they are places that allow us to travel into the past and to better understand what the world was like long ago. For children, museums are also places where they can learn so much without having to be in a classroom.
   For this wonderful poetry collection, Lee Bennett Hopkins has selected poems that explore museum related topics. In the first poem, we see a little girl looking up at a suit of armor. When she knocks on the armor, there is an “Echo of air” because it is empty, but the little girl cannot help felling that the echo is a voice from the past that is “drifting through / The lonely centuries.”
   Then there are the two children who are contemplating and having a chat with the bones of a brontosaurus. They wonder if the huge animal was ever “in a dither / When your head and distant tail / Went different ways.” They have so many questions, but they realize after a while that having a conversation with a collection of bones is “hard.”
   Another group of children discover that the tapestries on display in a museum give them a picture of the past. Carefully created by people who are long gone, the tapestries show “Tales of chivalry, cruelty, battles” and other scenes that connect the viewer with long ago human stories and experiences.
   This splendid collection serves as a fitting tribute to the museums whose displays delight the eye, challenge the mind, and tickle ones curiosity. On these pages poems written by Jane Yolen, J. Patrick Lewis, Marilyn Singer and others give young readers a delicious taste of what awaits them behind museum doors. 

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