William & the Missing Masterpiece… a cheesy mystery!


william cover

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?

william 1

I’m not telling…

Thank you!


Jennifer Black Reinhardt

Jennifer is the illustrator and author of several acclaimed picture books. Most recently is Always by My Side, 'A Stuffie Story', which she wrote and illustrated. She also is both the author and illustrator of Playing Possum, and Blue Ethel. Jennifer illustrated Gondra’s Treasure, written by Newbery award winner Linda Sue Park. As well as, Sometimes You Fly, by Newbery medalist, Katherine Applegate. She illustrated Yaks Yak, Animal Word Pairs by Linda Sue Park, The Inventor's Secret, What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford, by Suzanne Slade, Rabbi Benjamin's Buttons, by Alice B. McGinty, and The Adventures of a South Pole Pig, by Chris Kurtz.


  1. Love it when one of my fellow bloggers introduces me to book I haven’t heard of before and makes me WANT TO READ IT!!! And the list keeps growing….

  2. Thanks, Jennifer! I’ve got it on my library list now.

  3. This looks funny and fun, thanks for sharing!

  4. This looks like super fun and a wonderful addition to my own personal collection of children’s books. Thanks for sharing. I LOVE the idea/focus behind her book. 🙂

  5. A mystery AND cheese puns. Who could ask for more? I’m looking forward to reading this.

  6. This looks so cute & funny!! Thanks for sharing!

  7. Thank you, Jennifer. This looks like lots of fun. It’s on my growing list!

  8. As i Wisconsin writer and lover of all things French this book is on the top of my list!
    thanks Jennifer

  9. Well, you had me at the first illustration, but then “Homage to Fromage” sealed the deal. This looks wonderful–thanks for sharing!

  10. Ohhh! This looks terrific! Love the illustrations.

    And yes, “homage to fromage,” rally?? Brilliant.

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