Children's LiteratureKatie is helping Grandma plant a garden when rain interrupts them. "Let's go to the museum," said Grandma, "You always have fun there." The museum they visit is an art museum, "full of warm, sunny paintings." An odd place to take a young child of five or six years? Grandma doesn't think so; in fact, she rests while Katie goes off by herself to look around. The first painting to catch Katie's eye is van Gogh's Sunflowers, with seeds so realistic, Katie reaches into the painting to nab a few for her own garden. Low and behold, Katie finds she can touch the sunflowers. The adventure begins when the vase of sunflowers falls out of the picture and seeds scatter. Katie climbs into a nearby painting, Paul Gauguin's Breton Girls Dancing, and enlists the three girls, Masie, Musette and Mimi, to help clean up the mess. Mimi agrees to help but insists on bringing her dog, Zazou, along. Zazou grabs the sunflowers and runs with the two girls in hot pursuit, in and out of postimpressionist paintingsvan Gogh's Café Terrace at Night, Cezanne's Still Life with Apples and Oranges, Gaugaun's Tahitian Pastorals. Order is finally restored, various characters climb back into paintings and Grandma is just waking up when Katie returns. Author/illustrator Mayhew has written two other books about artKatie Meets the Impressionists and Katie and the Mona Lisa. Parents and teachers can use this picture book to spark young children's imagination about art, but will need to teach them proper behavior at an art museum, where staff might view active children differently. 2000, Orchard Books/Scholastic, . Ages 4 to 7. Reviewer: Judy Crowder
School Library Journal - School Library JournalK-Gr 3-In this, the third story about Katie's art adventures, the girl and her grandmother leave their garden on a rainy day to go to the museum. The child is drawn to Vincent van Gogh's Sunflowers, and discovers she can reach in and touch them. Alas, she bumps the vase and the whole arrangement falls out of the painting and onto the floor. She hears laughter coming from Paul Gauguin's Breton Girls Dancing hanging nearby, and she enters that canvas and enlists the help of one of the girls. Further pandemonium ensues, involving interaction with more paintings, including Paul C zanne's Still Life with Apples and Oranges. These featured artists, readers are informed on the last page, are the Postimpressionists, known for their use of strong color and line to express feeling. Mayhew's wonderful watercolor illustrations capture the strength of the paintings and, as their contents and people spill out into Katie's world, they change just enough to look as though they could belong there. While the idea of showcasing the paintings is the primary focus and the story secondary, this book succeeds as a lively and imaginative introduction to fine-art appreciation.-Carolyn Jenks, First Parish Unitarian Church, Portland, ME Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus ReviewsSunflower-patterned end papers, sunflower fleuron on the verso, characteristic vignettes in the post-Impressionist notes at the back: Mayhew (Katie and the Mona Lisa, 1999, etc.) accomplishes the remarkable feat of keeping his own style, with its vivacious line and cheery colors, while echoing the manner of others. The "others" in this case mean Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Cezanne, and Katie once again travels inside the paintings when a rainy day sends her and her grandmother to the museum. There is no single real museum that holds all these treasures, but in Katie's magical museum she knocks over the vase of Van Gogh sunflowers she's so entranced by. Getting them back leads to a merry chase. The little dog of Gauguin's Breton Girls snatches the sunflowers, and they chase him to the brightly lit Van Gogh Cafe Terrace at Night. Spilling Cezanne's apples distracts the cafe waiter, the dog and the girls leap into Gauguin's Tahitian Pastorals, but in the end it all works out, and Katie pockets a few of the dropped sunflower seeds for her and grandma's garden. The desire to be in a painting is played with a winsome freshness: not only are these famous art works made accessible to young readers, but Mayhew captures post-Impressionist impasto and rich color effortlessly. (Picture book. 5-8)
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