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Who Stole Mona Lisa? by Ruthie Knapp
Cover Artist: Jill McElmurry
Review by Gayle Surrette
Bloomsbury USA Children's Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781599900582
Date: 01 September 2010 List Price $17.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

The Mona Lisa is probably the most recognizable painting in the world. While many of us have never seen the original, we know about her enigmatic smile and that once she was stolen from the Louvre. Ruthie Knapp gives us the story of the Mona Lisa from the time it was painted by Leonardo da Vinci until she was stolen and returned to the museum.

The entire story is told from the point of view of the woman in the painting, Lisa, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo. I found the point of view confusing at first as, while it is being painted there is both the actual woman and the painting, and the POV is a bit confused at times.

Jill McElmurry does a wonderful job of illustrating the story, including having to do many, many, many versions of the Mona Lisa in many different orientations and sizes to fit the scenes. The overall color palette adds movement and warmth to the incidental characters that the painting is talking about.

It's difficult to cover historical events, especially art history in a picture book for children, but the theft of the Mona Lisa, along with the history of the painting in Who Stole Mona Lisa is a worth a try and is well suited for a child who is interested in art.

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