We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2018 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.
So many picturebooks have been written about Vincent Van Gogh’s tragic life. Despite the aura of societal rejection and unrecognized talent that permeated his entire existence, his life was also one that was filled with bright, psychedelic, shining colours – as can be found in these two beautiful nonfiction narratives.
Written and Illustrated by Laurence Anholt
Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books (2003, first published 1994)
ISBN: 0711221561 (ISBN13: 9780711221567)
Borrowed through inter-library loan. Book photos taken by me.
This story was told from the perspective of young boy Camille whose family welcomed Van Gogh when he first arrived in their little town in the South of France.
From the beginning, it was clear that there was something different, just a tad odd, about this man with the yellow beard. It didn’t help things, of course, that he was not moneyed, which would have made his eccentricities somewhat more palatable to most people.
Despite being shunned by everyone else in the small town, it appeared that Van Gogh found some measure of acceptance in Camille’s family whom he took great pleasure in painting. Van Gogh’s evident love for bright colours made Camille call him the “Sunflower Man.”
This will be a good beginning tale for those who are unfamiliar with Van Gogh’s works. I would have appreciated a much longer Afterword or back matter though, at the end, detailing how Camille’s voice was researched by the author/illustrator.
This would be a good book to pair with the following titles which we have already reviewed:
Words and pictures by Vincent Van Gogh Edited by Metropolitan Museum Of Art
Published by Chronicle Books (2005)
ISBN: 0811850994 (ISBN13: 9780811850995)
Borrowed via inter-library loan. Book photos taken by me.
This book provides a visual feast of Van Gogh’s most famous paintings as curated by the Metropolitan Museum Of Art, deftly paired with words that Van Gogh wrote to his younger brother, Theo.
It is simple and straightforward, but also very moving. It shows how Van Gogh’s solitary existence may have been made somewhat brighter if he saw the world through these eyes (or so I hope):
This would be a good introduction to young artists and young readers about Van Gogh – and the singular way he perceived the world.
#LitWorld2018GB Update: Setting of both stories is in the South of France.