Artistic City: The Mona Lisa Caper
Did you know that in 1911 the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre? I didn't. Bu then again, art history is not my strong point. In Rick Jacobson and Laura Fernadez's The Mona Lisa Caper, Vincenzo, a Louvre employee, decides to return the famous painting to Italy, where he feels it rightfully belongs. The narrator of the story is none other than the Mona Lisa herself.
I was also surprised at how important the city's role is in The Mona Lisa Caper. Mona Lisa narrates how she remembers the sights and sounds of the streets before she was put in a museum. When Vincenzo takes the painting he relies on the hidden, twisting alleyways to keep away from the authorities. While "free", Mona Lisa watches the city from her window, enjoying its vibrancy.Vincenzo decides to take the painting out of Paris but it is not until he gets to the country that he can finally relax and Mona Lisa's narration contrasts the busy city with the sounds of the countryside.
The Mona Lisa Caper is shorter than the typical 36 page picture book and has some flaws, but in my opinion it's success is due to the narrative voice of the painting. If you are interested in art history it's a fun choice.
Other Mona Lisa Theft titles, which I have not read but might be worth taking a look at: Who Stole Mona Lisa?, The Stolen Smile, and Steal Back the Mona Lisa.
Big Kid says: Is that picture in France now?