Monday, July 23, 2007

Katie and the Mona Lisa by James Mayhew #31

Mayhew, J. (1998). Katie and the Mona Lisa. New York: Orchard Books.

Book Type/Pages:

Picture/ 32

Grade Level:

Kindergarten through third grade

Curriculum Links:


Author Credibility:

James Mayhew has written several books in this series about famous artists and their work. At the back of the book, the author includes additional information about the Mona Lisa and the Italian Renaissance. He gives short biographical information on the artists featured in the book: Da Vinci, Botticelli, Raphael, and Carpaccio. He also acknowledges the Musee d’Louvre, the National Gallery in London, the National Gallery of Art and the Bridgeman Art Library in London.


I could not locate any awards for this book.

Book Summary:

In this book, Katie and her grandmother visit the art museum. With her grandmother dozing at the museum, Katie visits the paintings in the art museum. She pays special attention to the Mona Lisa and enters the painting. In her conversations and adventures with Mona Lisa, she learns more about the Italian Renaissance painters and their art work featured in the museum.

National/State Standards:

National Art Education Standards:
Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others


The illustrations appear to be done in watercolor. In addition to the illustrations, which cover each two page spread, reproductions of the featured art work appears. The illustrations have a brown overtone, very much like the work of Da Vinci in the Mona Lisa.

Access Features:

Important access features in this book include additional information on the Italian Renaissance artists and acknowledgements. In addition, the endpapers have pencil drawings of the paintings featured in the book.

Writing Style:

Mayhew writes simply so that younger readers can enjoy learning more about the Renaissance painters. His tone is informal and conversational.

Use in My Classroom:

I would use this book as a part of a study of Leonardo da Vinci or the Italian Renaissance artists.

My Response to the Book:

I liked this book. It was an easy read and the illustrations were well done.

Related Texts:

Other art books by James Mayhew:

Katie and the Bathers
Katie and the Spanish Princess
Katie’s Picture Show
Katie Meets the Impressionists
Katie and the Sunflowers
Katie’s Sunday Afternoon

1 comment:

Debbie Vanderford said...

Hello Tassie,

I never realized they had books for such a young age about Mona Lisa. I just read an article this weekend about the Mona Lisa portrait. Scientists from Canada's National Research council just did 3-D scan at the Louvre. They found that the panel onwhich the Mona Lisa is painted is sensitive to temperature and climate change but the current storage conditions pose no risk. The scan also helped them to further understand Leonardo's sfumato technique of soft, heavily shaded modeling.