Thursday, June 28, 2018

Anna and Johanna by Geraldine Elschner and Florence Koenig

Anna and Johanna 
by Geraldine Elschner and Florence Koenig
Published February, 2018
Prestel Publishing
Picture Book
32 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Although one is the daughter of a wealthy Dutch family and the other a household servant, Anna and Johanna become friends. Born on the same day, they celebrate their joint birthdays by making gifts for each other. But then a letter arrives that changes their lives forever. Told against the backdrop of the 17th-century Dutch city of Delft and its thriving commercial and artistic culture, this story of an unlikely friendship echoes the themes of Vermeer's luminous depiction of domestic life. Florence Koenig's brightly colored illustrations evoke Vermeer's style through the city's multifaceted landscapes, from misty mornings by the canals to busy households preparing for a special day. Young readers will be fascinated by this uplifting story of friendship inspired by Jan Vermeer.

My Thoughts
This beautiful book was translated from the original French version. Each page looks like a painting in a museum. You can actually see the brush strokes on the page. I found this fictional story, inspired by two of Jan Vermeer's paintings, to be quite interesting. Readers will like the twist in the story and the satisfying ending. 
I really like how this book ties art with story. It would be fun to show two paintings to students and have them create a story using the images for inspiration. 
The back matter tells more about Vermeer, how works and more about the two paintings that inspired the book.
The book is not a short picture book to read and I struggled a bit with the font size and style. While it is listed for ages 4-8 I would recommend it for slightly older readers ages 6-10. 

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