Johnson (Bertie on the Beach, 1981, etc.) had a great idea: Take one of the world's most famous paintings and create a story around the characters portrayed in it. She chose Diego VelÃ zquez's Las Meninas (1656), the group portrait that features the five-year-old Infanta Margarita of Spain and in which dwarves, ladies in waiting, and even the painter himself figure. Johnson follows the Infanta through a not entirely typical day, because this will be the day she will finally see Don Diego's painting. She dresses, has lessons, plays, and dines. When she is at last allowed to view the painting, she is surprised and delighted to find that she is ""the most important person of all."" Unlike the painting, the story is indescribably dull -- and completely unimaginative. The illustrations prop it up, but even their charm cannot keep this book from being a dismal failure. Johnson's concept and pictures are marvelous, but they don't compensate for this ineptly written tale.