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arthurApril 2016 Discussion – Picture Book – Arthur and the Curiosity by Lucinda Gifford

About the book: Arthur and his friends are on a class visit to the local museum. While his friends dash about, Arthur takes time to inspect all the interesting things around him. One of those interesting things is a glass case housing a strange looking creature known as The Curiosity. As Arthur continues his visit to the Museum, the reader catches glimpses of The Curiosity who has escaped his glass case and is now following Arthur about. When Arthur leaves the museum, he must leave his new friend behind..or does he? This is a story about imagination and curiosity. For all young readers and those young at heart who remember to ‘stop and smell the roses’.

About the author: Lucinda Gifford is a children’s book illustrator/author based in Melbourne. She illustrates books for Scholastic; Harper Collins; Omnibus Books; Five Mile Press; Lothian Hachette and Walker Books.

The discussion: This is a delightful book. We could all relate to the frazzled teacher who did not seem to enjoy the excursion or learn anything meaningful from it herself but harassed and pushed her charges through exhibit after exhibit.  Looking at some of the behaviours of the children, though, we could understand why – some of us shared stories from our own more memorable and humorous school excursions. Her need for a drink of tea (something stronger?) generated great empathy.

Arthur’s journey through the museum with The Curiosity will give students who read this much to discuss. There is a great deal happening on every page with all the different specimens and exhibits. It will also provide opportunities to talk about differing types of museums and what should or should not be included in a collection.

The illustrations are lively and colourful and to understand the process behind the illustrations we referred to Lucinda Gifford’s website where she outlines her methods. It makes for very interesting reading and we were very impressed that she made a name and backstory for each of the children in the picture book. Her deep care and attention to the details have ensured an excellent picture book that will engage children across many grades.

 

 

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