A museum at night is the setting of this inventive picture book starring the plucky and determined Dakota Crumb, a mouse on a mission. As the story opens, the big-city museum has closed; only guards are visible as Dakota creeps out, carrying a sack and her trusty treasure map. She is seeking a “famous priceless treasure.” It’s hidden somewhere, and naturally X marks the spot. Will the intrepid mouse be able to find it?
Young readers will enjoy joining this small scavenger as she slips past knights in armor mounted on huge steeds and sweeps minute objects such as a postage stamp and an action-figure toy into her sack, staying just out of the reach of a cleaner’s broom. Her quest brings her to the land of Egypt, where an enormous cat statue stands watch. Could the ancient temple hold the ultimate prize?
Dakota Crumb: Tiny Treasure Hunter is successful on several levels: as an introduction to museums, as an adventure story and as a seek-and-find book. The treasures Dakota collects throughout the book provide a fun opportunity for kids to explore what can constitute a museum collection.
Illustrator Kelly Murphy’s clear, colorful pen and ink images entice readers to look closely at paintings on the museum’s walls and tiny details in the exhibits. Her linework is particularly effective and will make it easy for young children to identify the many objects included in each spread. Activities at the end of the book add to the clever design. Preschoolers and early elementary-age readers will especially enjoy going back through the pages to find the items on Dakota’s list of treasures, which Murphy has sprinkled throughout the pages.
Dakota Crumb is a delight that readers will return to again and again. In that way, it’s a bit like a favorite, fabulous museum.