Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Katie and the Mona Lisa

Katie and the Mona Lisa

James Mayhew
Picture Book  Series
For ages 4 to 7
Scholastic, 1999   ISBN: 978-0531301777

Katie and her grandmother are at the museum when Grandma asks Katie which of the paintings she likes best. Katie tells her that she likes the Mona Lisa the best and the little girl goes to look at the painting of the woman with the enigmatic smile. Katie wishes very much to know what is making the Mona Lisa smile and then, to her great surprise, the Mona Lisa invites Katie to come and visit her in her painting.

Once in the painting Katie discovers that poor Mona Lisa is not only lonely but she also doesn’t feel very happy. How is she supposed to smile all the time if she is feeling glum on the inside? Katie decides that she will do her best to "cheer up" the poor lady and the two step out of Mona Lisa’s painting and go to visit some other paintings.

Katie and Mona Lisa go into three paintings and have all manner of adventures and get into not a few scrapes too. It seems that wherever Katie goes there is such to be trouble. Luckily for Katie and Mona Lisa a beautiful angel takes pity on them and sorts out the dreadful muddle that Katie has created.

This unique approach to exploring the art of the Renaissance painters is funny, beautifully illustrated and is sure to pique the interest of children. At the back of the book the author includes further information about Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Boticelli, Raphael, and Vittore Carpaccio whose paintings are visited by Katie on her adventure.