Who Stole Mona Lisa? by Ruthie Knapp and Jill McElmurry

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Who Stole Mona Lisa? by Ruthie Knapp and Jill McElmurry

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Buy Who Stole Mona Lisa? by Ruthie Knapp and Jill McElmurry at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: An intriguing look at the history of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, told from the point of view of the painting herself. Bright young readers will find plenty to enjoy.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 40 Date: February 2011
Publisher: Bloomsbury
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1408811580

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Taking in a history of its production, as well as its theft, Who Stole Mona Lisa? is an intriguing look at La Gioconda. The story is told from the point of view of Leonardo da Vinci's painting herself, and will strike a chord with any intelligent and curious youngsters.

Who Stole Mona Lisa? gets off to a bit of a slow start, as the painting tells us about the visitors to the Louvre, but as we dive in to the art history, the pace picks up. The writing is engaging and clear, creating a distinctive voice for the picture that makes it easy to imagine her as a real character. The book is pitched at confident readers, looking to dive into something a bit more substantial, but the story is so well told that younger readers who are being read chapters a night would enjoy it. Its target audience will find it fills them with a good grounding in the world's most famous painting - in fact, any parents reading it too might pick up on a few things they didn't know before.

Jill McElmurry's illustrations have an interesting style, slightly reminiscent of lino cuts, that particularly suits the historical setting. Every page is a joy to pore over - you'd expect nothing less in a book about a world-famous painting! The Mona Lisa is illustrated in this style, which is both a strength and a weakness. It does mean that unfamiliar readers won't get a full sense of the painting, but it does, therefore, encourage them to investigate further and take a look at what the painting really looks like. I particularly liked seeing the range of expressions given to the Mona Lisa as she goes on her adventure, rather than just leaving her with her trademark smile.

It's an educational book, but it's not dry or inappropriately worthy. It's a fun and informative read that would make a fine addition to any primary school bookshelf, or as a present for a bright and artistic child. It's well worth a look.

My thanks to the publisher for sending it to Bookbag.

James Mayhew's Katie books (British Artists, Spanish Princess and Waterlily Pond) are also great choices for young children interested in art. He's also turned his hand to ballet, with Ella Bella Ballerina and Cinderella.

Buy Who Stole Mona Lisa? by Ruthie Knapp and Jill McElmurry at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Who Stole Mona Lisa? by Ruthie Knapp and Jill McElmurry at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Who Stole Mona Lisa? by Ruthie Knapp and Jill McElmurry at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Who Stole Mona Lisa? by Ruthie Knapp and Jill McElmurry at Amazon.com.

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