Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Happy Birthday Lane Smith - August 25

Happy Birthday Lane Smith - August 25

My children and I have shared many laughs together reading books by Lane Smith. Whether it be the beastly fable, Horseshoe Crab and Blowfish from Squids Will Be Squids or Baby Hocky's troubles with white coats, candy apples, and balloons in The Happy Hocky Family or Paul Revere, the loud talking underwear salesman in John, Paul, George and Ben, we always end up laughing out loud during the story.

The laughs continued this week as we reread many of our favorite books and when I received this birthday memory from Lane Smith via email:

I remember my mom taking me to Knott's Berry Farm for what must have been my 5th or 6th birthday.  We were having a little party with 10 or 12 kids in a special 'birthday area.' (I don't think they have anything like that there anymore).  It was my big day but my Mom thought it would be funny to feed my hat to one of the goats.  I loved that hat. It ruined my whole day.  Ha Ha. Sounds like something that would happen to Henry Hocky.

My tradition now is that I like to stay home on my birthday.  My wife Molly makes dinner and we watch old movies.  No guests. No parties. No phones. No e-mail. 

This year the book that caught our attention was Seen Art? by Lane Smith and Jon Scieszka. This story is about a young lad who is to meet his friend Art on the corner of Fifth and Fifty-Third, which happens to be nearby the The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). However, Art isn't there when the boy arrives and he asks a lady, "Have you seen Art?" She points him in the direction of the MOMA. He still doesn't find Art. But, a gentleman encourages him to enter to the museum. From one person to the next the boy is lead through the museum and encounters lots of art, but not his Art. The frustration, confusion and sadness of not finding his friend in the museum do not stop him from appreciating everything he experienced during his stay at MOMA. (Don't worry --- Art does show up at the end, nothing horrible happened to him.)

We sort of felt bad for Art.  He didn't have a chance to visit the art museum. So we gave him a call.

He agreed to meet us at 1 South High Street in Akron, Ohio.  
We waited for him outside the museum for a while and he didn't show.
So, we thought we would try inside, but we couldn't find him there either.
We checked the entrance to the main gallery -- still no Art. 
We had seen all the art in the galleries including a really cool robot, a sculpture that looked like an ice cream cone, and a cool box thingy that my son wanted to crawl through but we later looked at it at an angle and it appeared closed. My daughter was very sad that Art once again missed an opportunity to see some really cool art.
We decided to leave and just outside the doors we saw Art! My son ran over and gave him a huge hug. 
Well, Art didn't get to see art, but at least he didn't have to endure being stalked by all the security guards throughout the exhibit galleries.  Maybe it was the fact that my one year old almost pulled a tapestry piece of art off the wall at one point.  Or maybe it was the fact that we were carrying around a sign that said, "Art?"  Oh well, we did enjoy our visit to the Akron Art Museum and we did follow all the rules including "Pencils only for sketching" and "No photos in the galleries".  Give Art a call if you are heading to an art museum sometime soon.  I really think he would really like it.
We asked Art if he wanted to come over to our house and he responded, "Of course."

Thank you, Lane, for sharing your birthday memory and tradition.  We hope you have a very peaceful birthday! 

If you liked this birthday celebration, check out last year's celebration that focused on Lane Smith's Happy Hocky Family books.  There are lots of great links and information too!

Click Here to visit last year's post!


  1. That's such a fun day at the museum for your kids (and you)!

  2. Awesome post!! How do you get the kids to cooperate for all the photos? Enjoyed reading the post!!! AVR

  3. That sign is hilarious. No wonder the security guards kept an eye on you. Glad you finally met up with Art. We will definitely try to locate that book.


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