It is a known fact that cats always land on their feet, and Gatsby, the precocious gallery cat is no exception.
In Gatsby’s Grand Adventures: August Renoir’s The Apple Seller by author Barbara Cairns, Gatsby is a curious kitty that lives in an art gallery and feeds a peculiar passion: Jumping into famous art paintings at night and back out of them before sunrise.
Gatsby thoroughly enjoys these adventures, except when he doesn’t make it out of the paintings in time, because that can mean utter chaos.
Chaos is exactly what happens when Gatsby leaps into the famous Apple Seller painting. He purrs for the girls sitting next to their mother, runs from a naughty dog, climbs a tree and has a grand time with his new friends. But when he finally jumps out to return to the art gallery, the sun is already up and the painting does not revert to its original setting.
In fact, it’s a complete mess. The mother has stooped to pick up her knitting, the girls are struggling with the naughty dog and the apple seller has tipped over and bumped into the mother. In other words, the famous painting is nothing like it should be.
Miss Annabelle, Gatsby’s owner, is quite upset at the sudden change, so it’s up to Gatsby to make things right. But the only way he can do that is to wait for nightfall and jump right back into the painting. Will he manage to correct the painting and land on his feet in the process?
Gatsby’s Grand Adventures: August Renoir’s The Apple Seller is a clever book that manages to mix naughty cats, rambunctious dogs, precocious children and the love of art – in short, everything children love – into one great big ball of fun. Although the book does not list a specific target group, it is safe to assume that children in grades K-3 will enjoy it.
Artist Eugene Ruble’s illustrations are lively, colorful and mildly reminiscent of illustrations from children’s books of yester-year. The text is a bit wordy for a picture book, but the words all center around fun, adventure and blossoming art education, so this definitely evens the score.
Ms. Cairns has included Pierre August Renoir’s bio on the last page, and there is even a list of websites children can visit for further reading.
This series should keep teachers smiling and young art lovers informed and entertained for a long time.
Best wishes and happy reading,
Picture Book Depot