Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Seen Art?

Scieszka, Jon (Author)
Smith, Lane (Illustrator)
Penguin Random House 2005. 48 pages
First published: 2005
ISBN: 9780670059867 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Waiting for his friend Art on a street corner, a boy is misdirected into a nearby museum (the MoMA). So begins this comedy of misunderstanding. “Can’t you just feel the restlessness?” asks one enthusiast, gazing at “The Starry Night” by Vincent Van Gogh. “Very intense. But I’m looking for Art.”

Rich vocabulary describes patrons’ reactions to a range of modern art: “Spreading joy around by color”; “The pain! The mystery!”; “Look at the constellation of shapes.” These comments provide a springboard for readers to define their own responses, while enjoying the boy’s bemused replies: “That is a lot of red. But … is ART here?”

A variety of other-worldly characters are made with textural collage effects and brisk, funny line. The boy’s hair is depicted with a single, bouncy coil. One gloomy fellow’s eyes seem weighed down by his wrinkly forehead. A woman’s smile meanders across her face like a country road. Reproductions from the MoMA collection share the spotlight in every layout.

In the end, the boy succumbs to the interest of the art he’s been shown and finds Art—waiting outside. “Art. There you are.”

(The back section provides thumbnail images of the works, their artists, their titles and the materials used to create them.)

  •  What is art? Discuss and create a class definition. Reflect on your definition and revise it, if necessary, as you read.
  •  

    Use teacher-selected online resources (such as virtual tours and street view software) to explore the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Share what you learn.

  •  

    Characters in the story answer the question—“What is art?”—in different ways. Select a painting, sculpture or photo (one featured in the book or other) that is art to you. Explain your thinking.

  •  

    What is art? Discuss and create a class definition. How does art make you feel? Reflect on your definition and revise it, if necessary, as you read.

  •  

    Go for a picture walk as far as the YES page. Discuss the pictures and how the book is organized. Do you recognize any pieces of art? What do you know about them?

  •  

    Listen to the book as it is read aloud. How is the story different from the one you discussed on the picture walk? Discuss how the title can be misleading.

  •  

    Write about how you feel as you look at one of the pieces of art in the book.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • Visual Arts