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Katie and the Sunflowers

Katie and the Sunflowers

  • Author: Pattertravelers
  • Date Posted: Apr 28, 2015
  • Category:
  • Address: National Gallery, London, U.K.

Katie and the Sunflowers written by James Mayhew is another book in his wonderful series of Katie books where Katie jumps in and out of famous paintings having adventures with the subjects and sometimes bringing them into her world with mixed and amusing results.

In Katie and the Sunflowers, Katie wants some of the sunflower seeds from Van Gogh’s Sunflowers for her garden.  She reaches for a flower, bumping the vase and knocking it and the flowers out of the picture and onto the museum floor.  As she tries to clean up the mess, she hears giggling.  Turning around, she discovers that the giggles are coming from the three girls in Paul Gauguin’s Breton Girls Dancing.  One of the Breton Girls offers to help Katie if she can bring her dog Zazou along. The two girls climb back into the museum and predictably, Zazou is more of a hindrance than a help.  He grabs the sunflowers and runs into Café Terrace at Night, sending everything flying before escaping back into the museum chased by the girls and an angry waiter.  With the help of the fruit from Paul Cézanne’s Still Life with Apples and Oranges, they escape from the angry waiter to find Zazou barking at the red dog in Gauguin’s Tahitian Pastorals.  After a quick swim in Tahiti, Zazou redeems himself by discovering buried treasure on the beach and Katie excitedly pockets a handful of coins.  Back in the museum, the girls realize they don’t know how to get back to Van Gogh’s Sunflowers.  Fortunately, Zazou has left a trail of sunflower seeds for them to follow.  As the girls follow the trail of sunflower seeds on the museum floor, they put back everything as they found it and give the treasure to the waiter to pay for Zazou’s destruction at the café. Katie’s Grandma is just starting to wake up by the time everything is set to rights, never noticing that anything unusual has occurred.

My son loves the Katie books.  As we started this one, he looked at me and said, “Mom, all of the Katie books are blog books.”  He thinks it’s cool that there are pictures of real paintings in the illustrations, though he does say he couldn’t paint that well and insisted that they must have had a computer to help them.  When I explained that computers didn’t exist at that time, he thought I must be mistaken but he really wants to see the paintings in person.
The pictures found in Katie and the Sunflowers can be found at the National Gallery in London, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Musée D’Orsay in Paris, the Kröllerer-Müller Museum in Otterlo in the Netherlands and the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia.  The National Gallery in London has a lot for families with storytelling and an art project every Sunday and audio tours and printed trails the rest of the time.  They even have a printed tour of the museum with activities narrated by Katie, something we will definitely check out if we’re in London.

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