The magical Garden of Claude Monet
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.