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Seen Art?

Last updated Thursday, July 24, 2014

Author: Jon Scieszka
Illustrator: Lane Smith
Date of Publication: 2005
ISBN: 0670059862
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Aug. 2014

Synopsis: It all started when I told my friend Art I would meet him on the corner of Fifth and Fifty-Third. I didn't see him. So I asked a lady walking up the avenue, "Have you seen Art?" "MoMA?" asked the lady. "Uh . . . no, he's just a friend." "Just down Fifty-Third Street here. In a beautiful new building. You can't miss it." When this address turns out to be the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, confusion and hilarity ensue. As the narrator continues looking for Art inside MoMA, he is introduced to well-known pieces of art such as Van Gogh's The Starry Night, Matisse's The Red Studio, as well as works by Picasso, Klee, Lichtenstein and others.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Who or what do you think Art is?

•  suspended - to stop something
•  constellations - a group of things felt to be related to each other in some way
•  atmosphere - mood
•  composition - the way in which the parts of something are arranged, especially the parts of a visual image
•  provocative - causing discussion, thought, argument, etc.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Where do they send Art's friend to look for him?
•  What kinds of things does Art's friend see at MoMA?
•  Are paintings the only kind of art?
•  Have you seen art? What kind?
•  What is MoMA and where is it?

Craft ideas:
•  Have the kids recreate Vincent Van Gogh's (one of the artists featured in the book) Sunflowers piece from their own perspective.
•  Step 1: Use the vase template to trace and cut out the vase in any color. Fold in the sides and the bottom, and glue to a piece of construction paper of any color. Leave the top open to put flowers in.
•  Step 2: Use the flower template in order to trace and cut out 4-5 flowers. Color flowers.
•  Step 3: Glue or tape the flowers to pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, or straws in order to make stems for the flowers.
•  Step 4: Slide the flowers into the vase. Decorate the background as desired. See example.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!