Category Archives: Art

U is for….

A dying man’s cryptic last words are…

Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald

undertheeggTheodora Tenpenny’s grandfather was her world, and his tragic and unexpected death leaves her devastated and more than a little worried.  Her mother is eccentric and flighty, her 200 year old home is crumbling around her, and she has little more than $400 in inheritance to keep them afloat.  Worse, her grandfather’s dying words leave her with a mystery surrounding the painting hanging above the mantle, her grandfather’s job as a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and a secret dating back to World War II.  With some new friends, and creative detective work, Theo discovers that her grandfather wasn’t the man she thought he was, he was much more.  (MR-5/6)

This creative and touching story is a Paperback Pigeon All-Time Top 10 Favorite.


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Filed under A to Z, Art, military history, museum, mystery, New York City

“Inspire Your Heart With Art” Day

As January winds down the cold days and gray skies can definitely start to wear on your soul.  Take time to warm your inner spirit through the arts.  Today’s celebration is meant to inspire, uplift, and restore happiness in your being through the beauty of artistic endeavors.  That can mean a lot of different things to different people, so follow your heart to what will bring you joy today.  Whether you visit an art museum, listen to a symphony, see a play, or perhaps pick up your own paintbrush and create a one-of-a-kind masterpiece, let the creativity in our world ignite a renaissance in your soul.  Check out some great reads from a variety of art genres and become inspired!

Visit a museum and discover new worlds!  Art is everywhere – in painting, sculpture, furniture, ancient Egyptian tombs, suits of armor or aboriginal carvings.   Be it the MET,the Art Institute of ChicagoMFA Boston  or the Getty there is inspiration at every turn for every interest.

museumThe Museum by Susan Verde is an ideal way to introduce any child to the wonders that await when you visit the art museum.   A young girl travels through the museum encountering inspiring works of art that are delightfully interpreted by illustrator Peter H. Reynolds.  Contradicting the “traditional” view of art museums as dull and unwelcoming to children, The Museum invites children to investigate and interpret art on their terms.  It opens the door for creativity and inspiration, as well as fostering art appreciation. (PB)

mixedupfilesFrom The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg, is the classic tale of  Claudia and her brother, Jamie, who run away from home to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.   For anyone who has ever wondered what it would be like to be in a museum after hours, for anyone who has wondered about the origins of the artwork hanging on the walls, and anyone who has felt under-appreciated.  (MR-4/6)

luncheonboatingpartyLuncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland guarantees you’ll never look at a Renoir the same way again.  Narrated in turn by Renoir and seven of his models, the painting takes shape as the artists personal, professional and emotional influences impact the story of the artworks creation. (Mom’s Bookshelf)


Listen to Bach or Duke Ellington.  There is a different style of music for every mood!  Paint to music and see how it influences your color and design choices!  Or  read about a favorite composer to learn about their inspiration.

luigioperaLuigi At The Opera by Ellie Alldredge-Bell.  Luigi’s grandfather introduced him to “music stories” and Luigi loves listening to them in the car.  Now he is thrilled to attend an Opera about ghost ship, and the best part is he is going with his grandfather!  A delightful tale that reminds us that sharing our love of the arts is the best way to encourage appreciation in younger generations.(PB)

harlembirdHarlem’s Little Blackbird by Renee Watson shares the story of Florence Mills, the daughter of slaves,  who sang like a bird and, when given a chance at stardom, chose to hold true to her ideals! (PB)

mthmozartMoonlight on the Magic Flute, Magic Treehouse #41 by Mary Pope Osborne has Jack & Annie traveling back in time to Mozart’s Vienna.  But why is a precocious six year-old named Wolfie distracting them, or is he the true mission? (ER-2)

Maybe you get inspired to move and groove – and the art that is closest to your heart is dance!  From Baryshnikov to Balanchine, Fossey to Fred Astaire, whether you are inspired to pirouette or pop-n-lock, dance can make your spirit soar!

josephinebakerJazz Age Josephine: Dancer, singer–who’s that, who? Why, that’s MISS Josephine Baker, to you! – by Jonah Winter  A triple threat and independent spirit Josephine Baker did it all with style.  She crushed the status quo and changed the face of entertainment forever! (PB)

dancesrDancers of the World  by Aurelia Hardy takes readers on a voyage around the globe through native dance styles.  Do a jig, try a waltz or grace the stage in a ballet – it’s all here for dance enthusiasts to explore. (ER-2/3)

paintedgirlsThe Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan follows the story of the van Goethem sisters, who in 1878 after their father’s death, find their best prospects at the Paris Opera where Marie trains to be a ballerina and Antoinette joins the chorus.  Faced with difficult choices, and possibilities for a new life, each must decide whether the necessary sacrifices are worth the cost. (Mom’s Bookshelf)

“To Be, or Not To Be” Inspired!  Enjoy a play by Shakespeare or delight in a Rogers & Hammerstein musical.  If you can’t catch a live performance in your area, cuddle up for an in-home viewing of a Hollywood version of a classic stage production.

muchadoaboutnothingMuch Ado About Nothing – A comedy, tragedy, love story, betrayal, redemption, and it’s all told as only Shakespeare can.  This movie version sticks to the story and brings it to life with some famous faces, (most of whom kids these days recognize from the Harry Potter films!) (YA- 12 and up)

Check your local high schools and theater groups to catch a live production of My Fair LadyThe Music Man, or Once Upon a Mattress.  It is a great way to support your arts community and introduce kids to theater without a significant cost.

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Filed under Art, Biography, dance, museum, music, theater

O is for….

There is never a dull moment with

Olivia by Ian Falconer

Olivia is a little pig with big personality.  From the moment she wakes up until her third bedtime story she never stops moving, and learning, as she explores her world in typical energetic pre-schooler manner.  Although it’s become a tv series and spawned a variety of early-reader and board books, the first Olivia stories are modern classics that entertain young readers , introducing them to art and culture along the way. PB

*A Paperback Pigeon All-Time Top 10 Favorite*

oliviaOlivia – Meet Olivia as she sings, dances, dresses up, and discovers the world as only this curious, adventurous little pig can.  Even when it lands her in time-out, she’s ready to take every opportunity available to explore her world first hand.  Whether creating her own Jackson Pollack on the wall, or dancing like Degas‘ Dancers, Olivia is ready to try it all – after she moves the cat.

oliviasavesthecircusOlivia Saves the Circus –  When all the circus performers are sick with ear infections it is time for Olivia to take over.  And she can do it all!  Whether taming lions or swinging on the trapeze Olivia proves she has what it takes to be a great leader, all she needs is a little imagination!


oliviaandthemssingtoyOlivia . . . and the Missing Toy – When Olivia’s most favorite toy can’t be found anywhere it is up to her to tackle the things that go bump in the night to get her dearest treasure back.  In true Olivia style, she handles this problem with pluck and saves the day!


oliviaformsabandOlivia Forms a Band – If there are fireworks, there will be a band – at least according to Olivia.  But what will our determined heroine do when she learns there isn’t going to be a band?  Create one of course!  Olivia takes matters into her own hands and puts together a one-pig band to provide the perfect accompaniment for the fireworks show.

oliviahelpswithchristmasOlivia Helps with Christmas – It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and Olivia is super busy making sure everything gets done right!  In true Olivia style she guarantees that all the details will be perfect for a Christmas to remember.


oliviagoestoveniceOlivia Goes to Venice – Olivia and her family are off to visit Venice and as usual, hilarity and adventure are at every turn.  Delightfully detailed with photography and art work to introduce young readers to this spectacular Italian city as seen through Olivia’s unique perspective.


oliviafairyprincessesOlivia and the Fairy Princesses – Olivia has never followed the crowd, but she’s feeling overwhelmed by too many sparkly and frilly princesses and she just wants to stand out!  Discover how Olivia stays true to herself and maintains her individuality.


oliviacollectionJust one Olivia story isn’t enough!  Get all 7 classic Olivia stories in The Olivia Collection.

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Filed under A to Z, Art, Picture Book, Pigs

I is for…

What if you could be anyone, or go anywhere?  With a little imagination anything is possible!

Isabella books by Jennifer Fosberry

Isabella is a little girl with big plans.  With unlimited imagination nothing is impossible for a girl who truly believes in the magic of pretend!  (PB)

isabellagirlonthegoIsabella: Girl on the Go – Isabella is spending the day helping her father, but she isn’t going to settle for ordinary chores!   As she goes about her day each chore becomes an exciting adventure across the globe.  Where will she end up?  The best place of all, of course, home.  Wonderful information for young readers about the fantastic destinations that Isabella visits – from the Pyramids at Giza to the Great Wall of China – at the back of the book.

isabellanotmynameMy Name Is Not Isabella: Just How Big Can a Little Girl Dream? – Isabella isn’t going to settle for just being Isabella!  Call her Sally the astronaut or Marie the scientist, or Mommy the greatest Mommy there ever was!  Isabella spends her day pretending to be all her heroes, driving home the idea that girls can be and do anything they want.  And maybe being Isabella is the best person for her to be, after all.  Turn to the end to learn all about the amazing women Isabella adores.

isabellastarofthestoryIsabella: Star of the Story – Isabella discovers the wonders contained in the covers of a book when she visits the library.  Here she takes a turn at being the lead role in classic children’s tales while she tries to find just the right book.   Who will Isabella be next?  Peter Pan, Goldilocks and Black Beauty all make appearances, but it is the yellow brick road that leads Isabella to the checkout desk and the perfect book for her.  Don’t forget to check out more information on the stories Isabella enjoys at the back of the book – perhaps one is just right for you!

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Filed under A to Z, Art, Biography, classics, Library, Picture Book