Artsy Kid Lit Continued

Katie Meets the Impressionists by James Mayhew

Note:  Sorry, I could not upload the picture for this one, as the wordpress uploader is seriously whacked out, and I’ve already spent far too much time doing this book review, and pulled more than enough hair out, figuratively speaking. I know you will understand!  Who hasn’t experienced techno angst, and beat their heads on the desk over glitches that wouldn’t fix themselves? At some point you either have to surrender and leave it, or age while sitting there trying to make it work.

This was my favorite book of all those I reviewed this week.  Katie is a little girl visiting the art museum with her grandmother.  Standing before Monet’s “The Luncheon,” she steps into the painting, inhaling the scent of the flowers.  While inside, she picks a bouquet for her grandma, as it is her birthday, and interacts with the subjects in the painting.  Katie meets Monet’s grandson Jean (pronounced John), and he shows her the artist’s studio where they make their own masterpieces.  There’s a very interesting juxtaposition here, between the fine art paintings and the appearance of Katie and her grandma, making them almost cartoonish to contrast the difference, elevating the status of the art.  When Katie leaves this painting, the flowers have wilted, but she finds another painting to enter, to revive them in a highly creative way.  When she gets into trouble in two different paintings, Katie dives out into the museum to safety.  As Katie moves through Monet, Degas, and Renoir, she has a rich variety of experiences.  For a brief time, she can’t find her way out of one of them until she sees the frame of the next painting in the museum off to the side.  It is the kind of book I’d have enjoyed writing and illustrating, if I’d thought of it first!  Kudos to McClintock for a luxurious tour through the French countryside to meet some of my favorite artists!


Another way of spotting a sex offender

I want to protect kids from sexual abuse, so I will have pointers from time to time on this subject.

Let’s say you are interviewing a babysitter, and you already have checked on their criminal background, and it is clear. I reiterate that this DOESN’T MEAN your child will be safe with that person.

This is not meant to scare you.

One red flag you can look for during your interview: Ask about the person’s all around activities. What do they do on a regular basis? If they are a teen, and their activities focus too strongly on younger children (the sitter’s gender is not relevant here), and they don’t do much with peers, I’d steer clear.

Too much focus on children and not their peers isn’t a good sign. You will want someone who is balanced. A healthy older teen will want most to hang with people his/her own age, and occasionally be a babysitter, or at least have just as many activities with peers, as with young kids. That inordinate amount of attention towards children, versus interest in being with peers, is a clue that this individual has some worrisome issues, and could easily be a sex offender who has not been in the legal system yet.

It isn’t normal for either older adolescents or adults to have all their activities (or even a majority) centering on kids! So pay close attention to what the person says when you ask these questions!

Additionally, it is of prime importance that you teach your kids that NO ONE has the right to touch them in any way that makes the children feel uncomfortable, and that they should tell you as soon as possible if something like that occurs. Children who are aware of their rights and willing to stick up for themselves, or at least be willing to tell, are very unattractive to sex offenders.

Offenders want kids they can manipulate and intimidate. They are banking on it!