I've been wanting to get to the Mo Willems exhibit at the New York Historical Society ever since I heard it was up, but as with all of us, life often keeps you busy with day to day activities. With the end of the exhibit in sight, I finally made sure to plan a trip in with my daughter Sally. Not only was it going to be a fun trip to see some art and read some new books, it was going to be her first trip ever to NYC on a train.
We headed out in the morning and met up with our good friend Allison at the NY Historical Society, where another good friend Ivan, who works there, got us in for free - always a nice bonus. As expected, the show was great fun. Mo's original art, sketches, videos, wire sculptures and more were on display. They had a great bus / book mobile where Sally could read some of the books we hadn't seen yet, as well as old favorites.
Mo is more than simply a children's book illustrator or author. His art is deceptively simple but is extremely effective at visually communication and story telling. The reader gets sucked into his reality and the characters. His work is very thoughtful and great care goes into each word, page design, illustration and story element. His success is no accident.
After buying some Mo apparel for 40% off (closing week of the exhibit!), it was time for a quick lunch at Shake Shack before hitting the Museum of Natural History next door. It wasn't part of the original plan, but it was so close and Sally was still full of energy so we couldn't resist.
One of the first areas we visited was the Blue Whale and the ocean creatures. Sally grabbed my hand and ran to each area, excited to see both the large and the small. She was fascinated by the Walrus tusks, the size of the whale hanging from the ceiling and the cool crabs and squid. Actually, she was excited by pretty much all of it, but we had limited time so I suggested heading up to the 4th floor to see the dinosaurs.
I explained that we were only seeing the bones of the dinosaurs and pointed out how their rib cages were similar to her bones, which she felt and nodded in agreement. Again, she wanted to see everything and was in no hurry to leave, but it was getting late so we headed out, made our way to Port Authority and got to travel on a bus back home.
What made the biggest impression on Sally after the whole day was over? The fact that we traveled on a train that went under the ground! She didn't like the noise on the subway platform, but who does?
PS One tip, if headed to the American Museum of Natural History, use the mobile app to buy tickets...much quicker than waiting on their line!