A couple of weekends ago I trotted off to the library with a small list of picture books I intended to get for one reason or another and, well, somehow I came away with my arms full of lovely picture books of which non were on my list… oh dear. But I think you will agree, like this one, there was something about them that just, well, called to me…
KATIE and the MONA LISA
Published by: Orchard Books 1998
Ages: 3 – 6 years
Themes: Art, history, loneliness, inquisitive
Opening lines: Katie and her grandma often went to the gallery on their days out together. Grandma liked to tell Katie all about the famous paintings.
“Which picture do you like best?” asked Grandma
“Mona Lisa,” said Katie. “She smiled at me.”
“She smiles at everyone,” said Grandma. “That’s why she’s famous.”
Synopsis: A curious young girl wants to know what makes the Mona Lisa smile. As she steps through the frame she finds not all is as it should be. In order to help cheer the Mona Lisa up, they set out on an adventure together, stepping into other famous pictures… with disastrous results. Thanks to Katie, the Mona Lisa eventually has something to smile about.
Why I like this: I came across this book while looking for something else and was taken by the beautiful cover illustration. This is one of nine books on Katie’s adventure in the art gallery, by James Mayhew. An exert from Amazon states…. A passionate advocate of art and culture for the very young, James’s books range from Shakespearean anthologies (To Sleep, Perchance to Dream; Shakespeare’s Storybook), through to grand opera (The Barefoot Book of Stories from the Opera) and most recently ballet, with the Ella Bella Ballerina series. His books are published in many languages including Chinese Mandarin, Japanese, Spanish, Catalan, Greek, German, Italian, Brazilian, French, Korean, Finnish, Danish, Swedish and Estonian.
As well as having over 50 books published he has illustrated many works for famous authors and written texts for illustrators. Some have been adapted for television. Another exert from Amazon states… James has devised and performed unique orchestral concerts for children with narration and live illustration, including Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, Stravinsky’s Firebird and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition for the de Havilland Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2008 he was invited to participate in workshops and children’s promenade performances at The Royal Opera House, Convent Garden.
With a unique ability to draw children in to appreciate fine art and history at a young age, it is no wonder he is in huge demand to give workshops and speak at conferences. The text in this particular book is an easy read and the illustrations rich in depth, James cleverly mimics the works of famous artists before him.
Resources/Findings: Katie’s own Blog…. http://katieandthemonalisalive.com/the-team/
This website has some fun projects to teach our young kids to appreciate fine art….. http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2012/09/15-fantastic-fine-art-projects-for-kids.html
Great website if you’re a teacher wanting to book a fine arts lesson to visit…. Checkout the blue tab at the bottom of the page and get some ideas….. http://www.fineart4kids.com/index.html
For more books with resources please head on over and visit the lovely author Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books. Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with the books reviewed by many authors.