Book review: Katie and the Sunflowers

If you haven’t discovered James Mayhew’s Katie’s Picture Show books, you and your children are in for a real treat. Each book in the series highlights a different set of artists within a particular art movement. The protagonist, Katie, actually climbs in to paintings hanging on the walls of museums. While inside, she has adventures with characters such as Velázquez’s Infanta Margarita, Leonardo’s Mona Lisa and Seurat’s Bathers. These fun interactions introduce art history to the reader in an engaging way, teaching children to view art using their imaginations. The whimsical illustrations deftly compliment the masterpieces that fill the pages.




Katie and the Sunflowers, about Post-Impressionism, is a regular bedtime story in our home, so by the time I shared the Vincent van Gogh blog post with my kids, they were able to identify his paintings and know his story. The book begins like all of the Katie books do, the main character visiting the museum with her adorable grandmother. Granny snoozes while Katie ventures off exploring. The endearing girl causes all kinds of mischief as she knocks down Vincent van Gogh’s vase of sunflowers and chases a dog through his Café Terrace at Night. The fruit from Cézanne’s Still Life, with Apples and Oranges spills onto the gallery floor in her wake. Her partner in crime is Mimi, a girl from Paul Gauguin’s Brenton Girls Dancing. Together the pair makes quite a mess of the museum, but in the end Katie cleans up and leaves the museum as she found it, with everyone and everything back in its proper painting.


Katie and the Sunflowers is an enjoyable read and a great way to introduce children to Post-Impressionism. Enjoy!

Note: you can find books from the Katie Picture Series on this site under HOW – RECOMMENDED BOOKS. As an Amazon Affiliate, Art History Mom earns a small percentage of any sales.

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  1. Cute books! I’ll definitely have to check them out for my daughter. Great suggestion.

  2. I love the Katie books! Monet is one of our favorites! Glad to see there are more!

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