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Reviews: BOOK TWO

Review # 1

Gatsby's Grand Adventures:Book 2, Auguste Renoir's "The Apple Seller" by Barbara Cairns, artwork by Eugene Ruble, is the second book in her series about famous artists' paintings and Gatsby, the adventurous cat. Gatsby has a special ability to "jump" into paintings at night, in the art gallery, where he lives with owner Annabelle. This is the second of many painting adventures. The problem--Gatsby has to jump out before sunrise or everything in the painting will be changed.

In this second adventure, Gatsby sees some happy little girls sitting with the apple seller lady in Renoir's painting. He thinks maybe they will play with him. He jumps in for a closer look and is pleased the girls are interested in him. Then, suddenly, Jasper the dog starts barking and chases Gatsby up a tree. Gatsby stays there too long and again misses his sunrise deadline. He jumps out, leaving the painting changed. so once again, he has to go back the next day to try to fix it.

The illustrator, Eugene Ruble, has another famous artist and painting to challenge him. He uses pastels to give us happy children-- laughing and playing-- enjoying a pleasant day. Check out this second book and see how well he measures up to Renoir. There will be more artistic challenges with each new book in the series.

As in the first book, this book combines humor, art history and art education, adventure, and just plain fun. I enjoy the upbeat concept of this series-- happy and fun experiences plus educational through art. I like Barbara Cairns' use of language to bring her story and Gatsby's character to life. her's an example: "Gatsby jumped off the girl's lap. The grass tickled his belly. His long whiskers flicked up and down as he tunneled through the thicket."

As a teacher and parent, I especially appreciate the art information and websites Ms. Cairns provides at the end of the book. Children will surely enjoy curious cat Gatsby's adventures in these famous paintings. We wonder what Gatsby's next painting adventure will be and look forward to the trouble he will make."

Reviewed by Penelope Anne Cole, author of Magical Matthew and Magical Mea

Available from: www,

Review # 2


In March I reviewed the first book in the series, Gatsby's Grand Adventures. Now book two in the series is out and it's as good as the first one.

Each of Barbara Cairns' books in the series is about a cat named Gatsby who has the magical ability to jump into a classical painting at night. This time the painting is The Apple Seller by Auguste Renoir.

Gatsby wants to play with the little girls in the picture, but he forgot to take the dog into account. Oh, oh.

The picture is completely changed because of the cat's error. Will he be able to get back and make everything right before anyone sees what has happened?

The story will appeal to kids as young as five years old and the information in the back about Renoir and links to websites about him will be helpful to older kids and even adults wanting to learn more about that famous artist. 

The illustrator, Eugene Ruble, does an excellent job of capturing the feeling of the art without imitating it. 

This book would be a great addition to school libraries and make a good gift for kids who are interested in art or who like to use their imaginations.

Reviewed by Janet Ann Collins 

Review # 3

Even though I am an adult, I love reading children's picture books. I especially like books that can teach children about a specific topic. In Gatsby's Grand Adventures: Book Two, Auguste Renoir's "The Apple Seller", by Barbara Cairns, children are introduced to a painting of famous artist, Auguste Renoir.

I admire Ms. Cairns for coming up with this ingenious way to help children acquire appreciation for art. The author uses humor, and adventures to capture the mind of children. I love this concept because it is a very effective way to introduce young minds to the abstract world of art education. 

Gatsby, the adventurous cat, is very adept at jumping into paintings at night in the art gallery where he lives with owner Annabelle. The fun begins when Gatsby must figure out a way to jump out before sunrise or everything in the painting will be changed.

The illustrator, Eugene Ruble, uses pastels to portray the adventures in a unique way. I am also hugely impressed with Ms. Cairns' play with words in order to bring this story to life. Here's my favorite passage:

 "One night, Gatsby crept downstairs into the gallery. He padded across the floor and stopped. His big eyes stared at "The Apple Seller" by Pierre Auguste Renoir. Maybe those little girls will play with me. Gatsby's tail twitched. His whiskers itched. His haunches hitched. SNAP!"

Lastly, Ms. cairns provides the reader with art information and many websites at the end of the book. In my opinion, this is a valuable resource. teachers and parents can use the information to encourage further study on the topic of art education.

Reviewed by Nicole Weaver at *blogcritics.