Thirty years after his death Dr Seuss’s wife discovered the unfinished manuscript and sketches for Dr Seuss’ Horse Museum hidden in a drawer in his old studio.
It is a bit of a mystery why Dr Seuss decided to write a book about horses in art. His wife Audrey divulged that he was not interested in horses at all and never rode one. He did love cats and at one point in his life they looked after 25-30 cats in their home.
A publisher snapped up the unfinished manuscript and engaged Andrew Joyner, an acclaimed author and illustrator of children’s books to complete it in a way which pays homage to Dr Seuss.
In Dr Seuss’ Horse Museum the children have lots of fun following their horse guide around. They look at many artworks about horses created at different times in art history, draw some of them and race around the museum to imitate a horse shown in one of the paintings which epitomises speed. And not surprisingly they run into The Cat in the Hat himself who makes a cameo appearance. It is all outrageously funny but also very informative.
At the back of the book, there is a little backstory about each artist for children who would like to know more.
In the real world, art is everywhere and can be found in all sorts of places such as in books and around the neighbourhood, as well as in art galleries.
And wherever children take a look at a work of art, whether it depicts a horse, an abstract design, or even a can of soup- Dr Seuss’s advice is to do just three things:
Look it over. Think it over. Talk it over.
I think this book is a great way to teach children that looking at art is fun, and to build their confidence that there is no wrong or right way of going about it.
My eight-year-old grandnephew Casper loved taking a canter through art history with a horse as his guide.
Dr Seuss has done it again! he said.
I challenged him to draw a self-portrait of himself as a horse. Deborah Butterfield has done this in the book using found objects and casting these in bronze.
Casper’s horse drawing turned out to be a rather serious horse with glasses and a shaggy mane standing in a field filled with pink flowers. It really captured something of his character.
Dr Seuss’s Horse Museum. Author: Dr Seuss. Imprint Picture Puffin. RRP $30
Reviews by Lyn Potter
Parent and grandparent, Avid traveller, writer & passionate home cook