William & the Missing Masterpiece made me laugh.
It was smart and silly and… cheesy.
The cover alone is hilarious as the author/illustrator, Helen Hancocks has cleverly shown only bits of what we know are famous paintings.
The first page opens with William, “international cat of mystery” receiving an urgent phone call. “The famous painting, The Mona Cheesa, has been stolen!”
William finds some unusual clues leading to the thief’s identity. Then William spies a mysterious stranger and follows him through the iconic landmarks of Paris. Reminiscent of how I felt reading, The Gray Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher by Molly Bang (one of my all-time favorites) this gave me that same feel and kid-appeal as the reader searches the pages for a glimpse of the mysterious thief.
The illustrations are so clever and witty. In one, we see William using his ‘best disguise’ and reading a newspaper. The right hand page then shows what he is really seeing through cut-out eye holes. There are cheese puns galore as William attends the “Homage to Fromage” art show where the winner will receive a year’s supply of cheese! I always think an author and and illustrator have done a terrific job when they can add hidden layers and meanings for all ages of readers to discover and this book delivers that in spades. Even a very funny newspaper article at the end which ties up all the loose ends.
Who stole the Mona Cheesa?
I’m not telling…