I'm a museum person: I'll look at just about anything if it's behind glass and has a little plaque. Fortunately for me (and for the kids, who also get to go there on field trips), we live within frequent visiting distance of the Smithsonian Institution and its complex of wonderful--and free--museums. The 14 poems in Behind the Museum Door: Poems to Celebrate the Wonders of Museums, selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Stacey Dressen-McQueen (Abrams, 2007), are framed by a school visit to a museum whose exhibits range from mummies to moccasins, fine art to fossils. My favorite (poem, if not exhibit) is Alice Schertle's "O Trilobite." Against a dark blue background teeming with the little critters, these are the opening lines:
O trilobite, there are a few,
here in the Fossil Room, of you.
Once billions strong, you ruled the sea,
a Cambrian Age majority.
In print, the left margin of the poem's lines forms a gentle convex curve, like the shape of a trilobite's shell.
I love Stacey Dressen-McQueen's rich and expressive artwork, made with acrylic paint, oil pastel, and colored pencils. The multicultural group of children she's painted here is clearly delighted with their trip to museum. I would be, too.