Roy & Matilda – The Gallery Mice By Susan Venn



roy matilda

If you live in or are visiting Melbourne and are planning a trip to the Art Gallery, or if you want to bring a little of Melbourne’s Art Gallery into your own home, this is the book for you!


Roy is a mouse who lives inside Melbourne’s Art Gallery. He doesn’t come out during the day (he might be stepped on) but at night, he wanders around the gallery and gazes at all the beautiful Australian paintings.

Then one night, he gazes for so long, that he actually finds himself inside the painting and on Mentone Beach in a Tom Roberts painting from 1887. He befriends the lady and the dog in the painting and has a lovely time on their yacht.

From then on, each night, Roy enters different works of art and meets the people inside them. It is in one such painting that he meets another mouse, called Matilda. He asks her to live with him in the gallery and the two continue to visit paintings together.


Why I love it:

My children adore the Art Gallery and I can’t wait to read this book to them right before our next visit. They would absolutely love to seek out the paintings from the book and find the people or the items mentioned in the story of Roy and Matilda.

Written by a kindergarten teacher, who has ‘a strong conviction that arts are pivotal in a child’s education’ this book is a brilliant introduction to art (specifically Australian paintings) and is such a clever way to inspire children to really study and spend time with the artworks shown.

Each page of the book is illustrated as a wall of the gallery and the paintings are right there for your children to familiarise themselves with.

At the back of the book is an additional page with notes and tips for visiting a gallery with pre-school children.

Roy & Matilda – The Gallery Mice really is the perfect way to introduce art to your child’s world, or further develop their love or interest.

Themes to discuss with your child:

  • Art
  • An art gallery
  • How to behave in a gallery
  • The subjects within the paintings shown
  • Art appreciation
  • History
  • Australian landscapes
  • Portraits and landscapes

Questions to ask your child:

Before reading:
  • What do you think this book might be about?
  • Do you think this is a fiction book (a story) or a non-fiction book (facts)?
  • Is this a book you want to read? Why/why not?
  • Run your hand over the front cover, what do you notice? Why do you think this was done on the cover?
  • What are both mice wearing?
  • Do you think the painting shown on the cover is a landscape or a portrait?
  • Do you like the painting shown? Why/Why not?
  • Have you ever visited an art gallery? Would you like to?
  • What kind of paintings do you enjoy looking at?
After reading:
  • Did you enjoy this story? Why/why not?
  • Which painting, shown in the story, was your favourite?
  • Do you prefer portraits or landscapes?
  • If you were Roy and could go inside the paintings, which one would you spend most time in? Why?
  • Have a look at the plaque underneath each painting, what do they all have in common?
  • Would you like to visit Melbourne’s Art Gallery and see these paintings?
  • If you were an artist, what sort of art would you create?


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