Behind the Museum Door: Poems to Celebrate the Wonders of Museums
selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins

Hopkins, Lee Bennett. 2007. Ill. Stacey Dressen-McQueen.  Behind the Museum Door: Poems to Celebrate the Wonder of Museums. New York:  Harry N. Abrams. 
ISBN 13: 978-0-8109-1204-5

Ask students to tell about a favorite field trip.  Many may say the zoo or the theater, but some may say the museum.  Before showing the book, talk about the different kinds of museums you can visit.  Ask them if they have a favorite kind of museum they like to visit.  If you have students who have never experienced a trip to a museum, provide some background knowledge so they can relate to the poems. Invite students to join you on a trip "Behind the Museum Door." 

This book is an anthology of 14 poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins.  The majority of poems deal with historical artifacts that would be found in a Science and History Museum.
A few poems are written about taking a field trip to a museum.  One poem covers the topic of the fine arts museum.  The poets included in this collection of poems about museums are contemporary and some award winning poets like, Myra Cohn Livingston and Lilian Moore, contribute a work of poetry in this book.  Students will find this anthology appealing because the poem topics include dinosaurs, woolly mammoths and mummies, to name a few.  The artwork is impressive with colorful oil-painting depictions of things seen in a real museum.
All of the poems included in this anthology can be found in other works.

Review Excerpts:

Horn Book (Fall 2007) In this smart lively collection of fourteen poems, readers will find intriguing descriptions of mummies and dinosaurs, fine art and textiles.  Factual tidbits within the poems may provide just enough information to whet readers' appetites an inspire them to seek out more details on a subject. 

Booklist (April 1, 2007) The awe and curiosity that museums inspire is the subject of this bright, energetic poetry collection.  The selections, contributed by many familiar poets writing for children, marvel at how easily artifacts transport viewers into history.  A perfect read aloud before a field trip to the museum.


Invite students to share their favorite poem from the book and tell why. Ask the children if any of them have seen the major motion picture, "Night at the Museum?" Did they make a connection between the poems found in the book and the artifacts seen in the movie?  

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