cover image Grandma in Blue with Red Hat

Grandma in Blue with Red Hat

Scott Menchin, illus. by Harry Bliss. Abrams, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4197-1484-9

Inspired by a Saturday morning art class at what looks like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a boy decides that his beloved grandmother should be in the collection. No, not a portrait of her—the woman herself. After all, like the rest of the great art on display, grandma is one-of-a-kind, beautiful, and distinctive; in short, “Grandma makes me feel good.” When the curator firmly but politely dissuades him from this plan, the boy puts together an exhibition at his home that celebrates both the variety of artistic expression and one amazing woman. Menchin (Harry Goes to Dog School) and Bliss (The Sweetest Witch Around) don’t lecture or try to dumb down aesthetics, technique, or art history—although, thanks to Bliss, readers will probably never forget that Picasso “liked to paint in his underwear.” Instead, the authors take a more intriguing path, asking, “Why does something belong in an art museum?” By steering readers into the heady realm of context, criteria, and taste, everyone becomes a critic—and that’s an illuminating, empowering thing. Ages 4–8. Agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Apr.)