Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Katie Meets the Impressionists

Katie Meets the Impressionists

James Mayhew
Picture Book  Series
For ages 4 to and up
Scholastic, 1999   ISBN: 978-0531301517

It is Grandma’s birthday and Katie and Grandma are visiting the art museum as a special treat. Katie discovers that some painters create their pictures by using little "dabs of paint and colour" which you can only really see as a whole picture when you stand back from the work to look at it. It is while she is looking at one particular picture "The Luncheon" by Claude Monet that Katie wishes that she could give grandma some flowers for her birthday. The next minute Katie finds that she is inside the painting and that there is a little boy there, Jean, who is willing to give her some flowers for Grandma.

Unfortunately Katie’s best efforts to gets flowers seems to go wrong somehow and she ends up hopping in and out of several paintings in her search for a simple bunch of flowers for Grandma. She has all sorts of wonderful, and not so wonderful adventures, and we, as spectators to these extraordinary activities get to enjoy not only Katie’s story but we also get to experience the art of Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, and Edgar Degas in a most personal and remarkable way.

James Mayhew has not only has crafted a wonderful tale but he has also created a beautiful book which captures the magic of Impressionist art. He recreates the styles of the three painters to perfection and by placing Katie into the artwork he also reminds us that art is living and that it portrays living as well an inanimate objects.