Sunday, April 1, 2018

Anna and Johanna by Geraldine Elschner & illlustrated by Florence Koenig [Review & Giveaway - USA/CANADA]

ISBN: 9783791373454
Hardcover $14.95
Ages 4 and up
My thoughts:  I always like to see children introduced to arts, sciences, and history in their books even at a young age. In Anna and Johanna the author astutely drafts an engaging tale based on a real painting by a master artist.

Perhaps this will encourage children to view masterpieces of art from the ages looking at the minute detail that tells the story. Then perhaps they, too, will draft a beautiful tale based on a wonderful work of artistry.

And this book is lovely. It is has an "old World" charm capturing the essence of life in 1660. (Printed in Slovakia and translated from the French, the book has a definite European sense to the reading. Quite enjoyable!)

The story flows well and recounts the friendship between two young ladies who grew up in families of different circumstances but who were dear friends. As they celebrate their shared birthdays, they discover a note written by one of the girl's father. It is revealing and sets the stage for the outcome of this gracious story of friendship.

The illustrations are quite charming and in a sense are taken from the European and/or Dutch school - particularly Vermeer.

A delightful book that would be grand addition to libraries of every type and on the personal book shelves of families who love art.
Left: The Milkmaid - Right: The Lacemaker - both by Jan Vermeer

About this book: This delightful tale about two young friends in 17th-century Holland is inspired by Vermeer's two masterpieces, The Milkmaid and The Lacemaker.

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.

About the Author: GÉRALDINE ELSCHNER is the author of numerous books, including The Cat and the Bird and Where Is the Frog? (both by Prestel). She lives in Heidelberg, Germany.

About the Illustrator: FLORENCE KOENIG is an illustrator and art teacher living in Paris.
Begins April 2
Ends April 23 at 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA and CANADA addresses only
PrestelDISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from MMPublicity on behalf of the publisher and author to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own alone and are freely given.


  1. "What steps do you take to introduce your child/children or children over whom you have influence to fine art?" You should be able to take a well-behaved child to art museums by age 6 or 7, but maybe in small doses, because it can get pretty boring if parents dawdle forever in place.

  2. We visit lots of museums. I show them books of all the arts.

  3. My son is autistic so I'm not sure how much he will appreciate fine art but I would like to try. It's too stimulating for him to be in public so this would be perfect for him.

  4. I take my children to the art gallery to introduce them to fine art.

  5. This looks and sounds like a great book! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on!

  6. We love to "study and discuss" fine art in age appropriate books. When they are old enough, trips to art museums are wonderful educational fun.

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  7. What a clever idea for a book - I would love to share this with my grandchildren. I am always looking for books to share with them.

  8. My learning center is located on a college campus with an art museum within walking distance. We take the children on field trips to the museum and allow them to view all the forms of art available. We also have books in the classroom highlighting a variety of artists and we will recreate their paintings in the classroom.

  9. We do have picture books on art and we go to museums which the children enjoy.


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