Review of Barbara Cairns’ Gatsby’s Grand Adventure

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I’m happy to present a recent addition to the Guardian Angel Publishing family, Barbara Cairns, whose picture book is illustrated by a familiar GAP illustrator, Eugene Ruble.

In Gatsby’s Grand Adventure we get a double helping of artistic fare. No—make that a triple helping. We have Barbara’s colorful, energetic writing, Eugene’s amusing illustrations, and Winslow Homer’s realistic, homey Americana paintings.

Gatsby

Barbara presents the problem right up front. “Gatsby the cat lived in Miss Annabelle’s art gallery. At night, he had the most peculiar habit. He jumped into famous paintings. When he remembered to jump out before sunrise, everything was fine. But sometimes, Gatsby forgot.”

Ut, oh. Did you see the word “WHEN”? I think we have one of those “when”s coming up.

And what more fun painting for Gatsby to jump into than Winslow Homer’s “Crack the Whip”!

In the painting, eight boys are playing crack the whip in front of a small one-room schoolhouse. Homer captures the spirit of fun and freedom of children of the 1870s (check out those clothes).

If you or your child, grandchild, or school class don’t know how to play crack the whip—you must take a look at this painting. Kids used to have hilarious fun without gadgetry—just friends.

Eugene not only had to reproduce Homer’s subjects, but add Cairns’ characters as well. And they are Gatsby the cat, his Mistress Miss Annabelle, and a mouse and a dog. He even goes inside the schoolhouse. And he does it smoothly and convincingly, integrating past and present.

Barbara’s main character, Gatsby, has a penchant for entering the paintings in the gallery. But when he enters “Crack the Whip,” he causes a minor problem. It’s funny the way one problem leads to another until Gatsby finally sets things right.

Gatsby’s now looking forward to more adventures with the new paintings set to arrive soon. But that’s another story.

This entertaining and educational book is available at Guardian Angel Publishing bookstore and other fine book stores . http://www.guardianangelpublishing.com/gatsby-snap-the-whip.htm

My review copy was provided by the author. I enjoyed reading it and reviewing it.

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