“Perfect Picture Book” – Friday

The magical Garden of Claude Monet

Written and Illustrated by:  Laurence Anholt

Published by:  Frances Lincoln Ltd in 2003

Age:  6 and over

Theme:  magical, wonder, friendship, art.

Opening Sentence:  “I wish I had a garden,” said Julie.  She looked down at the grey river, which ran through the city.

Synopsis:  Julie’s mother decides to take Julie to visit a beautiful country garden.  But while they are out Julie’s dog runs away from her, and crawling through a gate after him, she finds herself in a garden of wonder.  A gentle old gardener whom she befriends, turns out to be Claude Monet, and he helps Julie find her dog.  He takes her on a journey through his vast garden, rowing out on a pond, giving her a lily, a present from the water garden, and back at the house he shows Julie his finest idea yet, before she returns home. This is based on a true story of a friend of Claude Monet’s, daughter.

Why I like it: The wispy painted and drawn illustrations are inspired by Claude Monet with Laurence Anholt adding his own touches.  One of the special pieces is the foldout centrepiece which depicts Claude Monet’s Waterlilies with Laurence adding the rowboat with Julie and the painter inside. The illustrations are simple, yet busy, cleverly allowing the reader or admirer the feeling that they too could create a masterpiece like his.   One example is a full-page illustration showing the painter and Julie heading deeper into the magical garden.  At first glance the page is full of squiggles and strokes by paintbrush in every colour imaginable, and yet if you look again you can see a pathway and overhanging vines. This is a great introduction to art to kids, and introducing through his series, some of the world’s greatest artists and the real children who knew them.   Other books of his are Leonardo and the Flying Boy, Picasso and the Girl with the Ponytail, Degas and the Little Dancer, and Camille and the Sunflowers.

Resources/Findings:   I am amazed what I find when I start searching the net looking for resources for kids.  I came across this really neat website…. You have got to check it out, but please don’t blame me if you don’t come up for air for a few hours…lol   http://smartmuseum.uchicago.edu/smartkids/home.html

Another great website introducing kids to Monet’s Art….  http://www.leapfrog.com/en/leapfrog_parents/grades_1-2/learning_for_life/activity__in_monet.html

Another website teaching kids Monet’s Art and How to…..  http://www.kinderart.com/arthistory/monetandimp.shtml

A great tool website for teachers on art for kids…..   http://www.princetonol.com/groups/iad/lessons/elem/Pam-monet.htm

Oh boy I could go on and on….. trouble is I stop to read, or play, and on pieces of paper I would start using some coloured pencils and have a go myself, ….lol.

For more books with resources please visit the lovely author Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books.    Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with the books reviewed by many authors.

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About Diane Tulloch

Known also as the Patientdreamer I am a writer who loves to dream, and is passionate about writing stories for the young so that they may join me in the wonders of adventure in countries and cultures afar, and in special moments to remember.
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34 Responses to “Perfect Picture Book” – Friday

  1. cassam101 says:

    A lovely idea for a book,I’d like to read the series myself.

  2. Claudine G. says:

    I believe I will have a grand time exploring this book. I was first drawn to arts at 14 because of Monet.

  3. Oh, I love books that are based on true stories and this one sounds wonderful! Love the description of the art! I’m sure it’s a beautiful book. Thanks for adding it to our list!

  4. Catherine Johnson says:

    I love Monet. What a fun idea for kids and big kids 🙂 I’ll definitely try and get my two to check out those links. Thanks Diane.

  5. Joanna says:

    I love this book and Monet, Diane, a great choice. It was one of the popular biographies in our school library.

  6. This book looks fascinating, Diane! In fact, the whole series sounds great. Thank you!

  7. I’m not familiar with these, but it sounds like a wonderful book and series. I’ll look for it!

  8. Sounds like a great book, I am interested to see the illustrations.

  9. Oui, oui! I ‘louvre’ Monet too!

  10. I love secret garden books! This looks like a really lovely choice. Will be checking this one out! Thanks!

  11. Darlene says:

    THis sounds like a wonderful book. What a wonderful way to introduce children to art.

  12. Wow! This looks like an amazing book. I can’t believe I’ve never come across it again. Thank you SO MUCH for finding this treasure.

  13. Darshana says:

    This sounds wonderful. Will have to check the book out and the links. My kids do like Monet. Thanks for the review and all the links!

  14. Most excellent resources! You were right about the Chicago Museum website, too.

  15. Judging from the cover and your description, this sounds beautiful. Nice list of resources!

  16. This one is a winner. Love the story and the fact it’s true. Must find it.

  17. Oh no, Diane…now I have to try to find the whole series! What an amazing book to read to a young child to spark their interest in the world of art and famous artists. Thanks for a great review…your list of resources is stellar…and I’d better not go and visit the Chicago Museum link. I went there earlier this year when I visited my son and his wife…you want to pull out a cot and stay all night. 🙂

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