Dr Seuss’s Horse Museum
75pp., hbk., RRP $A27.99
Throughout history, the horse has been the subject of paintings, sketches, sculptures and other interpretations and each artist has viewed the same creature through a different lens. Some have seen its outline, others its bulk; some have seen its lines, others its strength, and each has conveyed their perception in a different way. According to Ted Geisel (aka Dr Seuss), when an artist sees a horse, it is not viewed from a photographic point of view but what the horse means to them as a person, and that depends on their education, experience and the thousands of other influences that shape anyone’s view of the world, not just its horses.
Twenty-one years after Geisel’s death, his wife found the manuscript that is the basis of this book illustrated by South Australian Andrew Joyner. The actual timeline of the manuscript is unclear but it does reflect Geisel’s lifetime interest in art with rough pencil sketches and notes for the entire book, and this has now been interpreted by Joyner using his imagination and the actual art works that Geisel planned. Working through a range of art genres including Surrealism, Expressionism, Cubism and Abstraction, the young reader is not only taken on a journey through the interpretation of the horse but through art itself, offering an introduction to the various movements that have swept the world along making this a book for older readers as much as for younger. Accompanied by notes about the manuscript, Geisel’s own art and the featured works, the story is told in prose (as opposed to the usual rhyme) and speaks directly to the reader so it is entertaining as well as educational.
It’s a great discussion starter as young artists think about what they see when they see a horse, as well as a springboard for getting out the tools and creating a personal interpretation. Something unique to add to the art curriculum.