Perfect Picture Book Friday – Art Museum Opposites

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday (PPBF). It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because I think it’s a cool way to teach opposites and to get kids looking at artwork.

Art Museum Opposites

By Katy Friedland and Marla K. Shoemaker

44 pages -ages 5+

Published by Temple University Press on October 1, 2010

Theme/Topic – Art / learning opposites


Opening and Synopsis – From the inside cover and written by  Timothy Run the  CEO of the Philadelphia Museum of Art “Art museums provide endless opportunities for learning and wonder.” – “They (the authors) have selected works of art that, when paired, can help us learn about contrasts and about the meaning of opposites such as day/night, many/few, and inside/outside. Along the way, the authors invite children and adults to look more closely at these wonderful objects and marvel at the new possibilities they reveal.” 

This book teachers about opposites using art. The pages show two opposites for example –

Photo taken from

 and then it will talk about the objects and asks questions about the differences and sometimes similarities. There are also questions to make you look at the objects closer – like in the example about “Do you see the boat?” and “What sound do cows make?” It also gives credit telling what the work of art is and who made it.

Why I liked this book – I think this is a very fun way to teach about opposites. The pages are really great looking! It is also a great way to teach about art. I really like art museums and I think this is a great way to get kids excited about art. Books like this and “The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Can You Find It?” (read my PPBF post for it HERE) are two of many books that might help.

Activities and Resources – I didn’t have to look far because the authors, who are also museum educators, put a great list of activities in the back of the book! They suggest not only looking at the opposites but also finding similarities.

Another great activity they suggest is to find a picture and try to draw an opposite to it.

The authors also say to use your imagination and make up a story about one of the objects or pretend the people or animals in the paintings can talk. What would they say?

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is a totally AWESOME place! If you are in Philadelphia, you should visit it! You can visit it online HERE. You can also visit your local art museum and try to find opposites!

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog  HERE!

Categories: Age 1-5, Age 6-9

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

46 replies

  1. This sounds great, Erik! I especially love the range of art and questions. It seems like a book that kids of many ages would enjoy and learn from. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi there Erik, this sounds like a fascinating read. For months now, we’ve been toying with the idea of having an “Arts theme” in GatheringBooks. This could definitely be something we could add to our possible list of featured books. The book cover also looks nice!

  3. This is a really cool idea! The front cover is very striking.

  4. Great idea to show opposites, Erik at the same time introducing different ways of living to kids. The more aware of how different things are the more choices you have yourself when the time comes. That picture of life in the city looks scary ay?

  5. This one just made it to the top of my wish list! It looks like an excellent book. Thanks, Erik!

  6. Right up my alley Erik! Can’t wait to hold it in my own hands – thanks!

  7. You had me with the title, Erik. We love art museums around here. In fact, we’re off to the Getty Villa tomorrow. (And I agree with you that the Philadelphia Museum of Art is a good one!)

  8. Hi Erik. Another great review! You really make the book sound fascinating, and thank you for taking the time to photograph some of the pages. That really helped. Good for you for choosing a book that is both educational about art and a lot of fun. I really liked your examples of some of the activities that the author suggests. Thanks again!

  9. What a great way to share about both art and opposites. you sure make me want to visit the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

  10. I love going to the art museum here in Richmond! It’s something that my best friend and I love to do together. Last year we were very lucky to be able to attend an exhibit of Picasso. Whether you’re a fan of his art or not (which I am), it was pretty amazing to be standing in a room surrounded by his work. It literally brought tears to my eyes a few times.

    This looks like a wonderful book. I love to give books to my friend’s children for birthday and Christmas so I’ll have to keep this one in mind. 🙂

  11. Ooooh! What a fresh, original choice. I will definitely have to check this one out, Erik.

  12. Erik, such a wonderful choice today. So unique. Love the theme of art and opposites and the many different ways to get children excited about art. The author gave some great acitivites for children. We need more books like this on our PPB list.

  13. The cover is awesome. This book is great. That opening says it all. It should be required reading for all kids in kindergarten. That way they grow up with an appreciation for artwork. Excellent! 🙂 I can’t wait to give it a read.

  14. What a neat way to learn about opposites and art. Thanks!

  15. I like the way this one looks from cover to the interior pages. What a fascinating concept? Brilliant really. I also love a book with its own activities.

  16. What a wonderful way to introduce kids to art! Some kids find art and art galleries boring — I”m so glad you show that they can be super cool and fun.

    Thanks, Erik!

  17. Thanks Erik! I love books that educate and entertain at the same time. Learning should be fun. What a wonderful way to introduce art to children.

  18. Going by all the comments here Erik, you have certainly picked a winner! Such a great teaching tool. Differences of life, and art. Very interesting indeed. Thankyou for sharing this with us Erik.

  19. Very cool! A great way to learn opposites and a little art history. What a wonderful pick!

  20. Looks like a very cool book! Would be great for teaching different art techniques too.

  21. I love this book, Erik! I’ve always enjoyed looking at art books…and I know young children would learn a lot…and have a lot of fun…seeing the contrasting works of art on each set of facing pages.

    Thank you for listing the activities…this would make a wonderful unit for any kindergarten or early elementary class.

  22. This looks like another awesome book, Erik. What a great tool for teaching opposites AND art to students! I’ll have to pass this on to my friend. She teaches middle school art and is so creative that I imagine she could come up with a very interesting project for her students.

  23. This book sounds brilliant! My artistic daughter will love it. Thanks for sharing!

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