Katie and the Waterlily Pond by James Mayhew

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Katie and the Waterlily Pond by James Mayhew

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: A picture book introduction to Claude Monet's work. James Mayhew brilliantly blends Katie's world with that of the impressionist master. It'd make a super birthday or Christmas present.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: August 2010
Publisher: Orchard
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1408304631

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When Katie and Grandma are at the art gallery, they see there's a competition to paint a picture in the style of Monet. Grandma has a bit of a rest, whilst Katie goes off to look at the Monet exhibition for inspiration. When one of the paintings speaks to her - really speaks to her - she steps inside it and explores... Subtitled A Magical Journey Through Five Monet Masterpieces, Katie and the Waterlily Pond is a wonderful introduction for children to art in general and Claude Monet in particular. They'll get a feel for In The Woods and Giverny, Bathers at La Grenouillère, Path Through the Poppies, The Waterlily Pond, and The Rue Montorgueil, Paris.

It's an educational book, but Katie and the Waterlily Pond is never dry. True, the adventures Katie gets up to are there just to take her from one painting to the next, but they're exciting enough, and the information about the artwork is woven in adeptly. The previous books in the series that we've reviewed (Katie and the British Artists and Katie and the Spanish Princess were about groups of painters, but it feels stronger focussing on a single artist. The range of Monet's work keeps the interest level up; the extent of his fame and influence means what they're learning isn't too narrow.

A book such as this succeeds or fails on the strength of its illustrations. Katie is drawn like a classic picture book character, and the main Monet reproductions are surprisingly close to the originals, given the small size. When Katie steps into the paintings, the backgrounds retain the impressionist style, whilst the people she talk to tread the fine line between the originals and being Katie-like characters. It all fits together seamlessly. In lesser hands, it would be a jumbled mess, but it works perfectly.

Katie and the Waterlily Pond would make a great present for a little one, or a slightly older child if it's connected to a trip to London - two of the five paintings are at the National Gallery. It'd be a worthy gift, but it's not dull and would be warmly received. It's a book to enjoy owning over the years rather than necessarily one to read over and over, but what it sets out to do it does very well. Warmly recommended.

My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.

Other great educational picture books include Cromwell Dixon's Sky-Cycle by John Abbott Nez, Peas! by Andy Cullen and Simon Rickerty, and 10 Things I Can Do To Help My World by Melanie Walsh. Adults will love The Private Lives of the Impressionists by Sue Roe.

Buy Katie and the Waterlily Pond by James Mayhew at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Katie and the Waterlily Pond by James Mayhew at Amazon.co.uk.

Buy Katie and the Waterlily Pond by James Mayhew at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Katie and the Waterlily Pond by James Mayhew at Amazon.com.


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