Charlotte in Giverny

Charlotte in Giverny

4.4 5
by Joan MacPhail Knight, Melissa Sweet
It's 1892 and Charlotte is bound for Monet's famous artist colony in Giverny, France, where painters like her father are flocking to learn the new style of painting called Impressionism. In spite of missing her best friend, Charlotte becomes enchanted with France and records her colorful experiences in her journal. She makes new friends, plants a garden, learns to


It's 1892 and Charlotte is bound for Monet's famous artist colony in Giverny, France, where painters like her father are flocking to learn the new style of painting called Impressionism. In spite of missing her best friend, Charlotte becomes enchanted with France and records her colorful experiences in her journal. She makes new friends, plants a garden, learns to speak French, and even attends the wedding of Monsieur Monet's daughter!

Illustrated with beautiful museum reproductions and charming watercolor collages, Charlotte in Giverny includes a French glossary as well as biographical sketches of the featured painters. This delightful journal of a young girl's exciting year will capture readers' imaginations and leave a lasting impression.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Part faux diary, part scrapbook, this charming volume teeters between picture book and novel. Through the 1892 "journal" of young Charlotte Glidden, daughter of a fictitious Boston painter, Knight (Bon App tit, Bertie) uncovers the inner workings of an artist's colony that sprang up near Claude Monet's home in France. Charlotte's enthusiastic, detailed reports emulate the more leisurely pace of 19th-century daily life in Giverny, and her perceptions of French culture and customs, art and artists give readers the distinct feeling of looking over her shoulder. Knight adroitly pins the substance of her tale to 16 Impressionist paintings, some of which are attributed to characters in the book. For instance, Charlotte describes her friend Edith Perry sitting for a portrait her mother is painting, and the painter turns out to be Lilla Cabot Perry. Similarly, Theodore Robinson's The Wedding March appears in Charlotte's diary entry about the marriage of Suzanne Monet to American artist Theodore Butler. Knight also works in paintings by other Impressionists who don't appear in the narrative but who did spend time at Giverny, such as an unusually informal painting by John Singer Sargent, Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose. Sweet (Leaving Vietnam) adds to the visual mix with a whimsical patchwork of sprightly watercolors and small-scale collages made from scraps of fabric, stamps, period photographs, a mini-picture glossary of French words and the like. Closing with a brief description of each painting and biography of each artist, this is a most appealing art history lesson. Ages 6-10. (Apr.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
It is 1892 and young Charlotte has just begun the adventure of a lifetime. Aboard an ocean liner bound for France, she begins her journal in which she records her activities, thoughts and feelings as she and her family move to a painter's colony in Giverny, France. Charlotte's father and many other artists have come to this idyllic setting to learn a new painting technique called Impressionism. As her father paints, Charlotte makes friends with the neighbors (including a funny gentleman named Monsieur Monet), learns French, explores the countryside and tries her own hand at painting. Her faithful record introduces readers to the countryside that inspired this artistic movement and to many of the most famous Impressionist painters. In the course of a year, we see how both the countryside and young Charlotte change. Museum reproductions, collage spreads and playful watercolors illustrate and enhance this delightful journal. Profiles of each artist mentioned in Charlotte's journal appear at the end of the book, briefly sketching the life and important works of these talented men and women. This is an impressive introduction to Impressionism. A multitude of extension activities for students of any age springs forth from this rich text-journal writing, painting, collage making, and museum field trips. 2000, Chronicle Books, Ages 10 up, $15.95. Reviewer: Leah Hanson
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-Similar in theme and style to Christina Bj rk's Linnea in Monet's Garden (R & S Bks, 1987), this story depicts the period of a young American girl's life spent with her family in the French countryside in the early 1890s. Presented in a journal/scrapbook format, the narrative describes Charlotte's family's arrival in Giverny, where her father plans to paint, and the ambience of the bucolic community where Monet reigns as an impressive, if somewhat remote, artistic master. The passing of the seasons is recounted through a series of social, domestic, creative, and pastoral pastimes. Despite her enjoyment of Giverny's agreeable diversions, Charlotte is mildly homesick until she learns that her best friend and her family will be joining them soon. Thus, the only real tension in the story is facilely resolved. All of the entries are amply illustrated with fine-art reproductions; historical photographs; and whimsical, na ve watercolors. The craftsmanship of the bookmaking lends the impression of a real journal with its binding and typeface. A list of credits identifying the famous paintings and artists is included. However, while attractive, the narrative lacks verve and fails to place the story in its adequate historical perspective. Impressionism and Monet's place in this pivotal artistic movement are not adequately addressed here. While this pretty book may be useful as supplemental material, it is ultimately derivative and lackluster.-Rosalyn Pierini, San Luis Obispo City-County Library, CA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Anna Attkisson
Several famous Impressionist painters are seen through the curious eyes of a young girl from America in the 1890s, whose handwritten diary of her life in France is full of watercolors and absolutely delightful observations.
Child Magazine
Kirkus Reviews
A fictional diary captures the Giverny of 1892 through the eyes of its little-girl owner, in this charmingly constructed conceit. In a format full of illustrations of famous Impressionist paintings, winsome watercolors, and collage bits of ribbon, lace, flower petals, and cards labeled with their French names, we read about Charlotte's visit to France. She writes about her voyage from Boston, her stay at the Baudy Hotel, the French gardener and maid, her neighbors and her tutor. She is fascinated by the glimpsed courtship of Theodore Butler and Suzanne, the daughter of Monet, who lives nearby. Other more or less well-known American Impressionists pass through Giverny and Charlotte's journal: William Merritt Chase; John Singer Sargent; Lilla Cabot Perry; and Mariquita Gill. A lot of information about life in Giverny and about painting en plein air is imparted painlessly in a font resembling very neat handwriting. The illustrations are simply irresistible. Linnea in Monet's Garden focuses on that artist and his splendid creations; this would make a natural pairing with it. Credits for the reproductions, brief biographical sketches of all the artists, and an author's note are appended. (Historical fiction. 9-13)

Product Details

Chronicle Books LLC
Publication date:
Charlotte Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.87(w) x 9.37(h) x 0.62(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Joan MacPhail Knight is also the author of Charlotte in Paris and Charlotte in New York. She and her husband live in New York.

Melissa Sweet has illustrated over 70 children's books. Every year she takes a trip to collect images for her beautiful collages. She lives in Maine.

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Charlotte in Giverny 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
iloveparis More than 1 year ago
Designed in "scrapbook" style, this book is an imaginative work of art itself. Young Charlotte herself creates this keepsake to record the year she spent with her family in Giverny during the height of Impressionism.

This book serves as an excellent source not only for teaching children about Claude Monet and Impressionism, but also for showing children how to journal and scrapbook.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Look at the subject first. I can't figure out anymore to say about this wonderfully book.