Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Grover and the Everything in the Whole Wide World Museum is a Sesame Street-themed 1974 Random House Book for Young Readers written by Norman Stiles and Daniel Wilcox and illustrated by Joe Mathieu. The title gives you a pretty good idea of the plot, as Grover visits galleries like “The Things You See in the Sky Room” and the “Things That Can Make You Fall Hall,” and a great deal of silliness ensues.

Not only have the book’s creators made the Everything in the Whole Wide World Museum an immersive place (which is pretty impressive for a book with only thirty-two pages), they’ve also worked in a number of delightfully clever gags in keeping with the wit that the Sesame Street TV program displayed in the seventies and eighties, before it got dumbed down and Elmo-fied.

This is a great book for little kids, whether they’ve been exposed to Sesame Street (or good Sesame Street) or not. Grover speaks in word balloons, and his dialogue plus the museum’s signs comprise nearly all the text in the book (there’s still plenty, though, since Grover, being Grover, never shuts up). And every scene on every page is loaded with visuals.

Grover and the Everything in the Whole Wide World Museum was one of my favorite books when I was a little kid, and I still love it. If you have small children, or if you miss those halcyon days when Sesame Street was good, you’re going to have a hard time doing better than this.