Small Fry Saturday: Speeding Down the Spiral

Small Fry Saturday is a meme inspired by The Well-Read Redhead, showcasing books our children enjoy.

This week’s pick is:

Title: Speeding Down the Spiral: An Artful Adventure
Author: Deborah Goodman Davis
Publisher: DGDFA
Released: December 2012
Source: publisher (NetGalley)


One sunny Sunday, Lizzie and her baby brother Ben visit the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City with their father. They take the elevator to the top floor and begin walking down the ramp to look at the art. After an e-mail distracts Dad and Lizzie comes face-to-face with a giant growling dog, the stroller begins speeding down the spiral with Baby Ben. And a quiet museum trip turns into a madcap chase, with Lizzie in the lead, followed by a museum guard, a teacher, students, and people with earphones, listening to an audio tour. The story is coupled with the colorful and lively illustrations by Sophy Naess, bringing to life not only the Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece of modern architecture but encouraging children and adults to see for themselves the Bourgeois, Brancusi, Cézanne, Chagall, Giacometti, Gonzalez-Torres, Kandinsky, Lichtenstein, Miró, Picasso, and Warhol paintings and sculptures featured in this book, along with the many other great works of art in the Guggenheim’s collection.

Speeding Down the Spiral appeals to all ages, children and adults alike. I think many can relate to Lizzie’s initial attitude toward visiting the museum. C and I both got a huge kick out of the book’s slapstick humor; a snowball of chaos ensues as more and more people join in to chase the runaway stroller down the spiral ramp.

The stark, white background of each page mirrors the décor of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City, where the story takes place. One’s attention is drawn to the illustrations, as well as the works of art that appear on each page. Illustrator Sophy Naess proves that children don’t have to see busy illustrations to be drawn to a book; a simple, well-done design can be just as attractive.

The end of the book contains more details information about each piece of art that appears in the story, as well as a brief glossary of art terms.

Speeding Down the Spiral is educational in a subtle and natural way, focusing on a fun story complete with an exciting chase!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.