Simon at the Art Museum

by Christina Soontornvat (Author) Christine Davenier (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

A little boy visits an art museum for the first time in this fun, sweet picture book about first experiences and seeing things from new perspectives. Simon is having a great time at the museum with his parents. There are slippery, slidey floors! Pigeons flying around the reflecting pool! And cheesecake in the café! But they're not really here for any of that.

No, Simon has to look at art. And more art. So. Much. Art. There's so much art that soon Simon needs to take a break and finds somewhere to sit.

From his bench, he begins to notice how many different people are visiting the museum and the many different ways they react to the art they see. Some people are alone. Some are in groups. Some people smile. Some shake their heads. Some even shed a tear. And Simon is right in the center of it, watching until he's inspired to give all the art another try.

By the end of the day, he may even find a piece that can rival a slice of cheesecake!

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School Library Journal

K-Gr 2--Simon and his family are visiting an art museum, and like many children, and even some adults, he's overwhelmed (and a bit bored) by the tall ceilings, slippery floors, and "SO. MUCH. ART." While lying on a bench bored and hungry for cheesecake, he observes the various people in the gallery hall, until something seizes his attention--a painting of a small child, in red shorts and a yellow hat, chasing birds--and he is transported. As the family gets ready to leave, Simon's mother reminds him they have one more thing to do, and readers can anticipate that piece of cheesecake for Simon, too. This sweet and familiar story will resonate with anyone who has ever felt as Simon does. Pair it with Susan Verde's The Museum and Jessica and Parker Curry's Parker Looks Up for an art museum-themed story time. VERDICT A perfect introductory text to what is and is not appropriate at the museum, this tale also delivers a generous lesson about how a single piece of art can turn an entire experience around. A recommended purchase for most libraries.--Shana Shea, Windsor P.L., CT

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"The story provides a lighthearted way to discuss perspective and would serve as effective preparation for a family or school outing."—Booklist "April 15, 2020"
Christina Soontornvat
Joanna Cacao is a Canadian-Filipino artist and illustrator who lives in Winnipeg with her Pomeranian, Danny. She loves working on magical and fantastical stories. Growing up in front of a TV, Joanna immediately became obsessed with any show or film that had a great story and set of characters. Her favorite shows consist of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Downton Abbey, and Gravity Falls. Her biggest influences come from various manga, as well as Ghibli and Disney films. She has a background in 3D Animation, and has self-published a queer webcomic: Toxic For You.
Christina Soontornvat is the author of two Newbery Honor books A Wish in the Dark and All Thirteen, which also won the Kirkus Prize and a Sibert Honor distinction. She is also the author of Scholastic's beloved fantasy series Diary of an Ice Princess, and the picture books The Ramble Shamble Children, The Blunders, and Simon at the Art Museum. Christina holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and a master's degree in Science Education. She spent a decade working in the science museum field, where she designed programs and exhibits to get kids excited about science and STEM. Christina lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, two young children, and one old cat. You can learn more about her work at
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date
June 20, 2020
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
School Library Connection

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