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Who Stole Mona Lisa?

by Ruthie Knapp
Illustrated by Jill McElmurry

Published by Bloomsbury, 2010
32 pages
ISBN: 978-1-59990-058-2

Ages 7 - 12

In August 1911, an Italian housepainter named Vincenzo Perugia stole the Mona Lisa. Author Ruthie Knapp spins the bare facts of that cataclysmic event in the art world into an imaginative, lively story told in the voice of the Mona Lisa herself as she documents her creation and worldwide appeal, as well as her unsettling disappearance. At first, she notes, “I was famous because Leonardo was famous.” Later, she observes, “I was famous for being famous.” After being stolen, “They looked for me in closets and corners. They looked in dustbins and vents . . . The museum posted a reward for my return . . . people came to see No Mona. Millions of people.” Eventually, Mona Lisa was recovered and returned to the museum. “Now you know why I am smiling. I am happy to see you. I am happy to be back where I belong.” An author’s note provides some additional facts about the theft of the Mona Lisa in this playful, vivacious picture book that whimsically deliver a wealth of information about the famous painting. The same can said for Jill McElmurry’s delightful illustrations, full of ample humor as they reflect the narrative action.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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