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!