REVIEW: Speeding Down the Spiral: An Artful Adventure by Deborah Goodman Davis


17472875Title: Speeding Down the Spiral: An Artful Adventure
Author: Deborah Goodman Davis
Year of Publication: 2012
Genre: Childrens
Format: Ebook
Length: 39 pages
First Line: “On a sunny summer Sunday, Dad decided to take Lizzie and her baby brother, Ben, to an art museum.”

Summary: This imaginative tale leads readers on a madcap adventure through the Solomon Guggenheim Museum in New York. Masterpieces of modern and contemporary art in brilliant reproduction do more than decorate the pages – they inspire the action of the story and encourage an imaginative approach to viewing art. Colorful illustrations by Sophy Naess bring to life Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous spiral and create a beautiful backdrop for art historian Deborah Goodman Davis’ story.

Review: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.

Lizzie and her family go to the Guggenheim Museum for the day. Lizzie is bored out of her mind, and while Dad check his email on his cell phone (?!) Lizzie accidentally lets go of her baby brother’s stroller which goes out of control down the spiral. Lizzie runs after Ben, collecting a group of helpers along that way that include a museum guard, an artist and a teacher and her students. As they run down the spiral, they all seem to take a moment to appreciate the artwork and give a mini history lesson about each piece they pass by. Of course Ben stops at the bottom and Dad is relieved to have found his kids, saying that didn’t have a boring day after all.

I swear I think I read a CURIOUS GEORGE with a similar plot.

SPEEDING DOWN THE SPIRAL is the kind of picture book that you were forced to read in school and didn’t like. This book pushes educational too far. Even as they are chasing after this runaway baby, the adults seem to have the time to stop and explain all the art pieces to Lizzie, who doesn’t seem to care honestly and is more intent on getting her brother back. The back of the book even has more details about the artwork and vocab for kids to learn. I can’t see many kids enjoying this outside of a classroom.

Because the adults like to stop and teach several times during the story, the flow of this book is awful. It’s like a chase scene in which the cars stop and get gas, go through the drive-thru to get food, and go through the car wash.

The illustrations for the book annoy me. The art seems lazy and not very detailed. The lines seem slanted and the coloring looks like it was done with a magic marker. But what annoys me the most is that all of the art in the museum are photos of the real artwork featured. They photoshopped in photos of the artwork. It looks so awkward with the magic marker coloring next to real life photos. I don’t know who made that decision but it was clearly a bad one.

Worst part: The illustrations

Best part: Learning about the museum

Grade: D

Recommend For: Teachers whose class is going on a field trip to the museum

Other Books by This Author: None


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