The secret of the Mona Lisa by Rosie Smith

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Ill. by Bruce Whatley. ABC Books, 2017. ISBN 9780733326059
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Art, Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci. Presented in graphic novel form the funny tale of Danny da Vinci and his friend, Mick Angelo, will intrigue, delight and inform readers as the pair hunts around for a subject to paint. The Duke of Milan holds an annual art exhibition, and Leonardo, Danny's uncle has been asked to paint his portrait, but is finding it a little difficult. Danny and Mick search out a subject for their work, but everything is rejected. All the special people are being painted by other artists, and when Danny's sister, Lisa offers herself as the sitter, they dress her up in an array of costumes, and place her in a variety of positions to make her look more interesting. In the end Danny simply paints what he sees and the final portrait draws admiration from the crowd at the art exhibition.
All the while readers will learn more about Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo as asides through the story.
The wonderful illustrations by Whatley, inform the reader as well as he emulates many famous drawings and paintings from the times and includes some of da Vinci's work throughout the book. Readers will be able to use the two pages at the end of the book to gain more information about Leonardo da Vinci checking the illustrations they have seen in the book with the summary.
This is a funny look at the painting of the most famous painting in the world, the Mona Lisa, and will enthrall the readers who pore over the text and illustrations with relish.
Fran Knight