An exciting book about being observant, imaginative and open to the wonder and delight in even the smallest things, Mi and Museum City by Linda Sarah (@travelandsing) is an utterly charming and magical début which will be hitting bookshelves early in February.
Life for Mi is boring and lonely. Although Mi’s hometown is packed with museums, they are nearly all dull, dreary and depressing. Can you imagine what it would be like to be dragged round the ‘Museum of Extreme Politeness’ or the ‘Museum of One Man Walking Very Slowly’?
Things all start to change the day Mi discovers Yu, a busker making marvellous and slightly mysterious music. Through songs and food they build a friendship and soon decide to approach the mayor about opening different sorts of museums in their town; museums which celebrate all that makes them joyous, all that they find curious and wonderful.
Although not without hiccups along the way, Mi and Yu are the catalyst for a transformation in Museum City. Up pops the ‘Museum of Rain that housed three billion raindrops and one piece of lost rainbow’, and the ‘Museum of the White Bits on Waves’, and many, many other buildings celebrating the whimsical, the quirky, the exciting and the unusual. Thanks to their vision and energy, Mi and Yu’s home is now a fun, bright place to live.
Clever naming of the lead characters puts the reader/listeners straight into the heart of this slightly off-the-wall story. With is intricately detailed, scratchy pencil and wash illustrations this brilliant book is best for curling up with in laps; there are many cameos to comment on and linger over. But I do hope it will also be enjoyed in classrooms as it lends itself so naturally to encouraging creative, lateral, out-of-the-box thinking.
Mi and Museum City was one of my most anticipated books of 2014 before I’d even read a full copy, and now we’ve actually got it in our home, it’s brought lots of delight and smiles. Appealing to kids’ natural passion for collecting the weird and wonderful, celebrating the transformative power of music and our ability to create beautiful worlds we’d like to live in if only we’d give it a go, this picture book by Linda Sarah is charmingly eccentric and heartwarming.
Now it turns out that there are some pretty crazy museums already out there in the world, for example The Sulabh International Museum of Toilets, The Lunchbox museum, The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum and the Kansas Barbed Wire Museum . But fortunately one person’s idea of museum weirdness is another person’s idea of museum fascination. If you weren’t passionate about books and illustration what would you think of museums dedicated to bookbindings, comic strips (take a virtual visit thanks to Google Open Gallery), brush pens and inks, pencils, pencil sharpeners, erasers, pens, paper, typewriters and Forgotten Art Supplies?
Mi and Museum City got us wanting to create our own museums. In the past we’ve made a natural history museum out of jam-jars (the museum continues to grow, I’m glad to say), and museum displays using mini luggage tags, but this time we used old postage stamps to illustrate museums we’d like to visit.
First we chose a bag of stamps in WHSmiths (they sell themed packets of used stamps for stamp collectors, but you can also easily get collections on eBay)…
… and used these stamps as our museum objects, which we then framed…
…before families came to visit!
Music we listened to whilst illustrating our museums included:
Other activities to get up to along side reading Mi and Museum City could include:
Have you been to a museum yet this year? What sort of museum would you most like to visit this year?
Disclosure: I received a free review copy of Mi and Museum City from the publishers.