Like the This is... series by M Sasek, Joan MacPhail Knight has created a truly delightful series of travel books featuring her intrepid explorer, Charlotte - a young girl from the late 19th century who writes beautiful, detailed accounts of her adventures.
In this trip to London, Charlotte keeps a diary from April to September of 1895. Opening with a visit to Monet's garden at Giverny, she tells Monsieur Claude her art-loving family are off to Londres with their friends the Fosters. Lizzy Foster is Charlotte's best friend and together they can't wait to explore the British capital.
Dotted with photos, illustrations, diagrams and real life paintings from the masters, Charlotte describes her journey with a true artist's eye, pointing out the colours and forms and beauty she sees as she explores the streets and River Thames.
I loved living Charlotte's experiences on her glorious journey - under the wing of her well-off and travel-loving parents. I also loved learning more about the work of such fine artists as John Singer Sargent - whom Charlotte meets in the book - and whose paintings are featured throughout, along with other famous artists like Sir John Lavery and Joseph Turner.
I'll be seeking out Sargent's work during our travels here in London - and hope to keep a journal even part way as richly detailed as the jottings of young Charlotte.
Title: Charlotte in London
Author: Joan MacPhail Knight
Illustrator: Melissa Sweet
Publisher: Chronicle Books, $23.95 RRP
Publication Date: 23 October 2008
Format: Hard cover
For ages: 8+
Type: High Text Picture Book