Tuesday, 16 November 2010

BOOK REVIEW - "Katie and the Sunflowers" - By: James Mayhew

Katie - disturbing the sunflowers!
Today was Tuesday -- and that's the day inter-library loan books arrive in Neilburg.  It's always an adventure to see what has arrived for pick-up and our reading enjoyment.

Alisdair walked down to the library this afternoon to pick up our books and he came home heavy laden with two grocery bags of stories.  Some were for Isobel and some were for his school program.

One of the titles in the bags was one I'd mentioned in a previous post "Katie and the Sunflowers" by James Mayhew.  Again, Katie, the young girl in the tale, goes to the Museum/Art Gallery with her Grandmother.   The story opens with Katie looking at Vincent van Gogh's "Sunflowers" -- only she does more than look.  She reached right into the painting and touched the flowers.  But then disaster strikes!  The vase wobbled and fell right out of the picture, making a big mess all over the floor.

Van Gogh's Sunflowers
As the story continues to unfold, Katie meets the little girls in Paul Gauguin's "Breton Girls Dancing," which was painted in 1888 and now hangs in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C.

Breton Girls Dancing
And then Katie and Mimi, (one of the Breton girls), end up inside van Gogh's "Cafe Terrace at Night" and meet up with a waiter, who becomes angry at them for bumping into him, making him drop his pastries!

Cafe Terrace at Night
The last page of the book gives considerable information about the Post-impressionist painters who painted in thicker strokes to make their colours even stronger.  It also notes that van Gogh painted "Cafe Terrace at Night" in Arles, France, where he lived for a time.  In another plot twist, Paul Cezanne's "Still Life with Apples and Oranges" is brought into the story.

Still Life with Apples and Oranges
The final painting brought to Katie's attention is Paul Gauguin's "Tahitian Pastorals."  The information page tells us Gauguin "had some sunflower seeds sent to Tahiti because sunflowers didn't grow there."  It also says the author wonders if "he wanted them to remind him of France and his old friend van Gogh!"

Tahitian Pastorals
Of course, in the end, everything works out and the sunflowers are restored to their rightful place in their frame.  Mimi is back with  her friends, the waiter is, once again, serving pastries, the apples and oranges are safely in their dishes, and the Tahitian ladies are still relaxing in warmth and comfort -- while Grandma, who fell asleep on a bench in the gallery, (and missed all Katie's exploits), is none the wiser.

"Katie and the Sunflowers" did not disappoint and lived up to all our expectations, after reading "Katie and the Mona Lisa."  Maybe next Tuesday, another Katie tale will arrive to give us yet another art history lesson!

No comments:

Post a Comment