The Museum Book: A Guide to Strange and Wonderful Collections by Jan Mark. Illustrated by Richard Holland, 56 pages, hardcover. Candlewick, 2007. Ages 8 and up.
Why do people collect things? This ode to museums mighty and minuscule will draw curious viewers of all ages — and is worthy of collection itself.What is a museum? Why would anyone amass shells, words, clocks, teeth, trains, dinosaurs, mummies . . . or two-headed sheep? Find out where the word "museum" comes from and what unusual items (unicorn horns? mermaids?) some early museums placed on view. Jan Mark’s humorous and conversational insights take readers through museums’ multifaceted history, while Richard Holland’s eye-catching mixed-media illustrations lend their own quirky flair. With vivid examples from all around the world, this wonderful book puts museums — and the many artifacts lovingly stored there — on display in a whole new light.