Mademoiselle Lisa, by Delphine Perret

Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait known as Mona Lisa is one of the most famous paintings in the world. It lives in the Louvre in Paris and is visited by millions of people. But what if Lisa was bored? What if she was sick of being looked at and having to stay still all the time? ‘Mademoiselle Lisa’ asks that question and then follows Lisa as she takes some time out. Initially her post-frame plans are modest, but flushed with success, she sets her sights overseas. She finds happiness and contentment in a new world. Illustrations are a mix of Mona Lisa’s face and loose line drawings set in an abundance of white space. Endpapers reflect formal wallpaper patterns featuring a number of still life configurations.

Mademoiselle Lisa takes the story of The Prince and the Pauper and reshapes it as a both modern and ageless fable. ‘Lisa’ is sick of just being an object of adoration, sick of the endless staring. She just wants a normal life, doing normal things. One day she decides that rather than sitting around, she needs to go out and seek this life she desires. Mademoiselle Lisa is both absurd and serious, suggesting that the world is there for the taking, no matter who you are. You just have to go out and get it. A small hardback, ‘Mademoiselle Lisa’ has wide appeal. Younger readers will enjoy the absurdity, while older readers will enjoy the reminder that anything is possible, if you will it so.

Mademoiselle Lisa, Delphine Perret
Black Dog Books 2010
ISBN: 9781742031620

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author