Kids in Museums Book Club: Speeding Down the Spiral

July 28, 2016

Kids in Museums

Before Museum Diary heads off in to a little summer break, I wanted to give you the latest edition of our ‘Kids in Museums Book Club‘. So far, we’ve had books featuring both imaginary museums, as well as real life museums from Paris and London. This month, we travel to another real life museum in our reading: to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City. We’re heading to New York for our Autumn holidays later this year, so I thought it would be fun to read a book from there.


In ‘Speeding Down the Spiral. An Artful Adventure’ by Deborah Goodman Davis, it’s the Guggenheim’s iconic architecture that is one of the main protagonists of the story. One sunny Sunday, Lizzie’s dad decides to take her and her baby brother Ben to the museum. Lizzie thinks this sounds boring, but her dad suggests it will give them some relief from the heat and says they will see some cool art too. And the museum is shaped like a spiral!

“This museum is awesome,” said Dad.

Lizzie is not convinced. She’s feeling hungry, would rather go to a water park to cool down, and thinks they can’t have fun anyway if they have to push Ben’s stroller everywhere. To which #MuseumBoy responded “But we have fun when we go to the museum with the stroller and Alfred!” Bless. Maybe he should have a word with Lizzie. Also, note to dad: always take snacks with you when you take your kids on an outing! Or anywhere.


But little did Lizzie know that the stroller was going to be at the centre of a lot of excitement. Considering the title and the front cover of the book, I don’t think I’m giving too much away here. To cut a long introduction short, the three of them take the elevator to the top floor. When Lizzie is asked to hold the stroller while Dad answers an email, she accidentally lets go when spooked by a painting of a growling dog – and the stroller, of course, goes speeding down the spiral. With Ben still in it!

Will Lizzie be able to catch up with Ben and the stroller? What about all the people they pass along the way? Will Ben make it safely to the bottom? And where is Dad?

I don’t want to spoil things by giving away too much about this madcap chase, so I’ll just add that on her way down the spiral, Lizzie passes a lot of artworks from the Guggenheim’s real life collections, and learns a little about each of them. The artworks are all listed again at the end of the book too, with the relevant information on the artists, dates, materials etc. for anyone who wants to know more.

speeding down the spiral

So, what did #MuseumBoy think of this book? Well, we’ve had to read it at least half a dozen times so far, so that’s a good sign. Here’s what else he had to say about it.

What did you think of the book?

Good! Can we go to the museum?


When we go to America for our holidays, can we go to the museum? You said it’s in the same place we are going, so can we go there?

Yes, sure!

We can take the book with us and look for all the paintings

Good idea! So, did you have a favourite bit in the book?

I liked the stroller speeding down the spiral. It was funny. We could do that with Alfred’s stroller!!

Umm, maybe not.


I’m not sure it would work in real life. You wouldn’t want him to get hurt, would you?


Was there anything you didn’t like?

It was a bit scary when Ben’s stroller went flying over the big hole! So maybe it’s better we don’t do that with Alfred.

Do you want to read the book again?

Yes! I love this book!

Speeding Down the Spiral. An Artful Adventure, by Deborah Goodman Davis (author) and Sophy Naess (illustrator), 2012, Color House Graphics Inc. Available from Amazon UK*, Amazon Deutschland* and Amazon USA. Please note the links marked with an * are affiliate links, which means if you shop via these links, I receive a small percentage of the sales.


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