Sunday, 28 November 2010

BOOK REVIEW - Katie's Sunday Afternoon - By: James Mayhew

Another "Katie" book arrived at the library earmarked for our reading pleasure.  This one is called, "Katie's Sunday Afternoon."

The paintings featured in this volume are all done by "The Pointillists" - Georges Seurat, Paul Signac and Camille Pissarro.  As the notes at the back of the book indicate, the Pointillists "liked to keep their colours pure, so they didn't mix them together before they applied them to the canvas.  They painted their pictures entirely in dots, deliberately placing contrasting or complementary colours next to one another to create different effects.  This painting style not only kept colours vivid but seemed to capture both the scene and its atmosphere.  At the time, many people did't like Pointillist paintings -- perhaps they found them fuzzy or messy -- but painting in the Pointillist style took a long time and required a great deal of patience!  Today, Pointillism is loved by many."

The storyline in this book is a little harder to believe than the other titles we have enjoyed thus far.  But it is still a good read -- especially for children who can suspend the improbablities of the events actually transpiring.

This time, Katie and her Grandmother are very hot and decide to go swimming, but when the pair arrive at the pool it is full.  So, they go to the air-conditioned art gallery instead.  Poor Grandma must have a bad case of sleeping sickness because she always nods off while Katie has her strange adventures among the paintings. 

And so, while Grandma sleeps, Katie first examines Bathers at Asnieres by Georges Seurat.  The scene is so inviting, Katie climbs through the frame and into the cool water.  She splashes and plays with a boy in a red swimsuit and hat, who is named "Jacques."  Then Katie, and her new friend, attempt to leave the painting and return to the gallery, but they tip the painting and water gushes out of the frame and on to the floor.

Bathers at Asnieres

Standing ankle deep in water, Katie and Jacques see Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.  Katie leaves the boy behind, enters the frame and makes friends with the little girl in the white dress.  The girl, whose name is Josette, is given permission to go with Katie to wade in the gallery.  The rest of the elegant people decide wading is a great idea and the men roll up their trousers and the ladies hitch up their skirts.  Everyone has a wonderful time.  Then they realize the water is getting too deep and they will not be able to wade back to the safety of their painting without getting their good clothes wet.

Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte
Katie and Jacques swim over to a third Seurat painting, known as the Port of Honfleur.  They clamber inside the painting and take a little rowboat out of the picture and bring it back into the gallery.  Everyone manages to return to safety except Josette and her governess, who is called Prudence.  Unfortunately, Prudence falls into the water and is soaking wet.

Port of Honfleur
Another painting, Woman Hanging Up Washing by Camille Pissarro, comes to the rescue.  The kindly washerwoman hangs up Prudence's wet garments and gives her other clothes to wear.  Once her things are dry, the trio get back in the boat just as Jacques warns them that a guard is coming and there is an urgent need to return to their own painting immediately! 

Woman Hanging up the Washing
Katie is suddenly worried about how they will be able to get rid of all the water.  As they row past the painting Portrait of Felix Feneon, by Paul Signac she is inspired to ask for help.  After several tries, Felix waves his stick and the room is instantly clean and dry and the the boat and the rest of the people are back where they belong.

Portrait of Felix Feneon
Once the guard leaves, Grandma awakes and asks Katie if she would like to go back to the swimming pool.  Of course, after her water-filled adventure, she isn't too keen on heading to the pool.  So Grandma and Katie leave to find an ice cream treat instead!

I wonder what Katie's next adventure will be and what paintings the next book will introduce us to?

No comments:

Post a Comment