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by James Mayhew & illustrated by James Mayhew

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: June 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-531-30325-X
Publisher: Orchard

Sunflower-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 Cézanne, 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 Café Terrace at Night. Spilling Cézanne’s apples distracts the café 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)