I’m always a sucker for books for toddlers and early readers that make use of modern art. We’ve covered Where’s Warhol (a Where’s Waldo parody) most recently, Henri Matisse and Alexander Calder pop-up books, and now there’s a cool new one — Roy’s House, by Susan Goldman Rubin with art by Roy Lichtenstein.
Rubin’s simple, playful text welcomes readers, then takes us on a tour through Lichtenstein’s iconic pop art, which combine to make up quite the house when viewed all together. His infamous paintings of interiors introduce us to a great big couch for entertaining many friends, a kitchen for snacking, and the studio where “Roy paints pictures.”
Children are also asked to look closer and interact with the pages as they examine works like Still Life with Goldfish (“We can feed red fish that swim in a red bowl. How many?”) and Kitchen Stove (“Something smells good in the kitchen. Roy is baking a pie!”).
I really like that the story feels effortless, but not an afterthought; even if you were to remove all the images, it would still read as a playful book about visiting a colorful house. These aren’t just captions or questions to accompany images of the artwork — which is what I might have expected.
The thing that I love most about introducing children to books like Roy’s House actually comes later. It’s when we get to see that spark of recognition, when they spot the artist’s actual paintings in some other context — a poster in a friend’s house, an illustration on a coffee cup or greeting card, or maybe even the actual artwork during a museum visit.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, don’t expect to see Drowning Girl or the exploding comic book rocket of WHAAM! in here. It is a children’s book, after all.
Find Roy’s House by Susan Goldman Rubin and Roy Lichtenstein at our affiliate Amazon, or your local independent bookstore or museum shop.