Friday, 9 January 2015

ReadItDaddy's Book of the Week - Week Ending 9th January 2015 - Katie and the Starry Night by James Mayhew (Orchard Books)

Katie and the Starry Night

Written and Illustrated by
James Mayhew

Published by Orchard Books

First of all, a huge huge MASSIVE apology to both James Mayhew and Orchard Books. Somehow we managed to completely miss "Katie and the Starry Night" off our review schedule last year and I still don't quite know how that happened. But we're here to put things right, mainly because of the gigantic impact the "Katie" series has had on Charlotte - in particular this utterly exquisite celebration of the works of Van Gogh.

James is an awesome campaigner for getting children interested in art from an early age. Through Katie, children can enjoy her stories and then go and investigate the original artworks that inspired them. From Van Gogh to Turner, British artists and international artists, traditional and modern, James has covered many movements and styles and it's been a truly awesome part of Charlotte's reading and learning experience for her to have a set of engaging and approachable books that talk about fairly hefty subjects in her own language.

Katie visits a gallery along with her Grandma - and while Grandma sneaks off for a snooze, Katie's adventures in art begin!

This time Katie finds herself drawn into Van Gogh's fabulous "Starry Night" and as the stars swirl around, mischievous stars flit away and decide to lead poor Katie on a merry chase through the gallery! Can she track them all down and return them to their proper places before the gallery attendant notices and Granny wakes up? She's going to need some help!

Katie finds herself quite literally immersed in Van Gogh's world as she enlists the help of two lovely ladies (and a ladder) from "Olive Picking", as well as some rather canny fisher folk too. Stars are not easy to catch and the last one evades her grasp. It's time to borrow something else from a Van Gogh Painting (and this was definitely my favourite bit as Katie nabs that infamous chair from Van Gogh's "Bedroom in Arles".

James pays due homage to the master himself with his own gorgeous artwork throughout the book. Without a doubt though, the star of the show (pun intended) is Van Gogh's Starry Night, a painting that - thanks to James - has captured Charlotte's imagination so much that she asked for a copy of it for her wall for Christmas (an unusual request but one we're absolutely overjoyed to accommodate! Believe me, compared to having a poster of One Direction on her wall, this is definitely the better option!)

One day we'll take her to see the real painting in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and we'll probably bring James' book along too!

Charlotte's best bit: Katie enlisting the help of the lovely olive picking ladies with their big ladder, and absolutely ADORING "Starry Night"

Daddy's Favourite bit: Such a genius set of books that positively engage children's imaginations and curiosity, encouraging them to discover the wonderful world of art and the artists and works therein. Utterly beautiful book, hugely inspirational!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Orchard Books)