Books Picture Book Challenge 2011 Picture Books Reading Themes When Words are Not Enough

End of Museum Tour with Barbara Lehman’s Museum Trip

Our wordless museum tour concludes with another lovely picture book, this time around by Barbara Lehman aptly entitled “Museum Trip.” After visiting New York, Washington DC and Boston, Lehman takes us along with a small group of students in an unnamed museum for a school trip. While not as exciting and colorful and vibrant as the first three museum books, it does have its own distinct charm. In this detailed biography of Barbara Lehman, it appears that the book is inspired by Lehman’s childhood visits to New York Art museums. Absolutely perfect for our Bimonthly theme this March/April “When Words are not Enough: A Wordless Picture Book special.”

Untied Shoelaces = Lost in a Museum. Unlike our earlier posts about a balloon wreaking havoc outside the museum, Lehman’s picture book is relatively more subdued – with a quietly-sinister vibe to it. A young boy was left behind by his entire class while on a museum tour because he stooped down for a few minutes to tie his shoelaces. When he looked up, lo and behold, the entire class was gone.

Thought bubble: "Where did everybody go?"

Instead of panicking, our young boy looks around and finds a ‘secret passageway’ that leads to a room filled with ancient mazes in a glasscase. It reminded me a little bit of Sims 3: World Adventures where your characters can visit museums in France and Egypt and get hopelessly lost in the different levels and secret doors found within.

Sims lost somewhere in the World adventure - click on the image to be taken to the websource.

Lost within a Museum Artifact. The young boy takes his being ‘lost’ a step further by magically entering a museum artifact that features a maze in a yellowed parchment paper – and finding his way around there.

Watch how the boy gets drawn into the maze - and later on... gets inside the maze.
Uh-oh...navigating through this maze is going to be quite a challenge...

Recommended Activities. This book is ideal for children who are into mazes, solving puzzles, and museum trips. It would be interesting to see whether the reader’s version of exiting from the maze would be identical to how our young boy solves the puzzle from within. Teachers may also ask their students to develop their own narrative-text and figure out what could possibly be going on in this boy’s mind as he skillfully weaves his way around the twists and turns of both the maze and the museum. The boundaries of one’s imagination and creativity are likewise stretched as both fact and fiction seem to merge with these vintage-like, magical mazes. Whether or not the young boy eventually finds his way to his own class and his teacher, I shall leave for you to discover.

Click on the image to be taken to the Houghton Mifflin websource.

Barbara Lehman was born in Chicago and attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where she earned a BFA in communication design (source here). She was given the Caldecott honor for another one of her wordless book entitled The Red Book in 2005. If you wish to know more about her and her works, click here to be taken to a detailed biography of Lehman.

Museum Trip by Barbara Lehman. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 2006. Book borrowed from the NIE Library.

PictureBook Challenge Update: 58 of 72

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

4 comments on “End of Museum Tour with Barbara Lehman’s Museum Trip

  1. I have not really been exposed much to wordless picture books before, so this series has been eye-opening for me. I have particularly enjoyed being able to “visit” so many US museums.


    • myragarcesbacsal

      Hi Joanna, thanks for dropping by. Yup, I know what you mean. I was not as exposed to wordless picture books myself before, it just seemed like a ‘fun’ thing to do – until we realized how much of a goldmine it is. As an academic, I am now tinkering with the idea of coming up with a formal paper on this, seeing how much effort we’ve put in for these past two months in featuring such books. Perhaps I could present it during the next Asian Festival of Children’s Content Conference. Hahhaha. =)


  2. Pingback: Reading in April’s Heat: An April Round-up |

  3. Pingback: List of Wordless Picture Books: A Gathering Books Recommendation |

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