Mona Lisa in New York, by Yevgenia Nayberg, (March 2021, Prestel Junior), $14.95, ISBN: 9783791374451
The iconic Mona Lisa painting makes her way to New York for a museum exhibit, but there’s no way she’s staying inside the whole time! One night, she slips out to explore and meets Tag, a graffiti work from Brooklyn, who takes her on a whirlwind tour of New York: they listen to jazz in Harlem, eat pizza in the Bronx, dance salsa on the High Line, and go swimming at Brighton Beach. But all good things must come to an end, and as the two ride back to the museum on the subway, Mona Lisa knows that she’s got to go home… or does she? This love letter to New York City is a lesson in art appreciation – Tag and Mona Lisa are both art forms – and an introduction to New York, a city with so much to see that even the Mona Lisa wants to be a tourist! The mixed media artwork has the flavor of New York, with something always going on in the details, whether it’s the crush of people staring at their phones and taking no notice of the famous painting come to life on the street, pigeons sitting on Mona Lisa as she tries to figure her way around the city, or the train acrobat plying his trade on the subway. A great choice for an art-related or New York-related storytime. And while you’re at it, tell the kids about 5Pointz, the now-shuttered graffitii warehouse in Queens where artists used to be able to come and create public art. Give kids some art supplies like markers and paper, or buy spray bottles and tempera paints and let them create sprayable paint.