From Publishers Weekly
Stanley and Nolan lure readers with this playful puzzle. Rusty, an art student who comes to the city art museum to copy the works of Dutch masters, realizes that a kitchen maid in one painting and a gentleman in another have fallen in love. Of course the affair is hopeless: "there they were, trapped in their different worlds, frozen in time." Nosy neighboring portraits comment snidely ("the stern gentleman in black believed the servant girl to be at fault for looking over her shoulder in such a pleasant way"), but worse is to come: the museum directors move The Kitchen Maid to another room. But through her own art Rusty transcends all barriers: she unites the lovers in a single painting. Hats off to Nolan for his thorough research and credible renderings of paintings in the style of artists ranging from Rembrandt to Picasso (a note lists all 19 painters represented, and further states that the frames are modeled on those in the Yale Center for British Art). Stanley's supple storytelling admits a fresh, romantic grasp of the possibilities of art and imagination. Ages 5-8.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Grade 2-5-Stanley's imaginative tale, brought to life by Nolan's realistic illustrations, unfolds in a spacious, unnamed museum among a collection of paintings that appear to be by 17th-century Dutch masters. At night, portraits in the styles of Rembrandt, Hals, and others converse and gossip over the romantic feelings of the aristocratic gentleman in one canvas, whose gaze falls steadily on the painting of a kitchen maid across the room. During the day, all is quiet while visitors roam the hall and art students, like the young red-haired woman named Rusty, copy the famous paintings. Rusty notices on a return visit that the gentleman has lost his merry look, and that the kitchen maid has been removed to another gallery. Her solution is ingenious. She copies the maid on the same canvas as the gentleman and, back home on her own apartment walls, the two are forever bound in the same frame, locked in a mutual gaze of affection. This lighthearted story is deftly told and handsomely illustrated. More believable in its fantasy than the elaborate Rembrandt's Beret (Tambourine, 1991) by Johnny Alcorn, it serves the same purpose of adding a dimension of familiarity and human interest to the sometimes intimidating atmosphere of a great art museum.Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.