Monday, December 22, 2014

Maira Kalman's Ah-Ha to Zig-Zag

by Maira Kalman
Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, 2014

My weekly email from Brain Pickings contained a very expensive Best Children's Books of 2014 list a couple of weeks ago.

I'm a sucker for ABC books, and I'm a sucker for Maira Kalman's whimsical illustrations, and I'm a sucker for multi-genre nonfiction. What could I do? I had to buy this book.

Published by the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, it is exactly what it says it is: "31 objects from the Cooper Hewitt..." Furthermore, we learn, "Maira Kalman went to the museum. She chose objects from the collection and made this book for you."

Don't expect a literal, one-to-one ABC. That's not Kalman's style. For instance, the dog on the cover is featured on the spread for E: "E. (Except for your dog) This is the cutest dog on Earth. With the cutest Eyebrows on Earth."

After Z comes O, for "Oops!" A letter was left out, but "Oh, well. We all make mistakes." After that, there are photographs of the actual objects with a bit of information about each (have fun counting and figuring out why there are more than 31 photographs), the story of how Nellie and Sally Hewitt came to collect these objects and create a museum, AND an invitation to readers to pay attention to the design of the objects in the world around them and then write to the museum with their suggestions for objects that might be included in a museum.

So. Much. Fun.

1 comment:

  1. I just bought this for my daughter, who works at a museum! She loves all things Kalman, & will love this too. Happy to hear your words about it, too. Merry Christmas, Mary Lee!


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