This is a favorite because it has a Dutch flavor, and so do I. The story begins with our hero – a little boy with a Charlie Brown-esque look about him – managing to lose a trio of bullies by popping into a museum. And since he’s there anyway, the boy decides to take a look.
After he contemplates some modern art pictures and sculptures he comes across a room full of masterpieces, including Jan van Eyck’s Portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his Wife. While passing by the piece our hero catches the eye of the Giovanni’s little dog, and down he comes, right out of the painting!
The two of them then dance and jump and chase one another through the museum, until they come across a sheet of music lying on the ground. Where did it come from? Ah, wait! The two of them notice that it must have been dropped by that lady at the piano – that lady in Jan Vermeer’s painting Girl at Piano. So in they jump, right into the picture, and return the music to the grateful girl. This leads to some more dancing, accompanied by the girl at her piano, before our hero and his dog head off further and deeper into this painting, opening a door and entering Little Street, Delft in seventeenth century Holland!
To say this is an inventive book doesn’t suffice! An art-loving parent could use this to introduce their children to some of the masters, and anyone of Dutch heritage could use it to show what the Netherlands looked like three centuries ago. Young children will love it for the sheer rollicking adventure. It ends with our hero back in modern day, but now equipped by his time-traveling artistic adventure with just the tool he needs to help him with those bullies.
Jon Dykstra blogs on books at ReallyGoodReads.com.