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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Anna's Art Adventure
by Bjorn Sortland
Age Range: 6-8
Brought along to the art museum by her Uncle Harold who is conducting a tour, a bored Anna slips away during his lecture to find a bathroom. She inquires of a self-portrait of Rembrandt van Rijn where it might be. "I, Rembrandt van Rijn, haven't been to the bathroom for more than three hundred years" the portrait replies. Finding a mysterious red dress on the floor the inquisitive Anna puts it on. Immediately she is transported into a series of masterpieces that include Edvard Munch, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Marc Chargall, Paul Cézanne and Henri Matisse. Jackson Pollack even lets her take a turn with his brush. At each stop, Anna learns a little about the artist's style and technique, but she doesn't linger, as she's still in need of the toilet. Finally returning to reality, Anna works up the courage to interrupt her Uncle Harold with her pressing query.
Bjorn Sortland's wry tone will attract readers' attention with the imaginative, playful nature of the narrative while Lars Elling's humorous caricatures provide portraits of the artists' along with a sense of what their works look like, cleverly incorporating the figure of Anna into these artistic masterpieces. There is one minor criticism. The repetition of the bathroom humour does make the story a bit one-dimensional at times. Despite this, Anna’s Art Adventure is a fun book to use to introduce young children to the world of art. There are brief biographies of each of the artists included at the end of the book.