Monet Paints a Day

Overview

In November 1885, impressionist painter Claude Monet vacationed in Étretat, France, where he spent his days outside, painting scenes of the seaside village. One morning he rose early and carried all of his supplies and half-finished paintings out to the cliffs and rocky beach, finally stopping to paint the arch called Manneporte. Eager to capture the scene before him, and aware that he must work quickly to catch the light, Monet became so engrossed in his work that he forgot to watch the incoming tide. Based on a...

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Overview

In November 1885, impressionist painter Claude Monet vacationed in Étretat, France, where he spent his days outside, painting scenes of the seaside village. One morning he rose early and carried all of his supplies and half-finished paintings out to the cliffs and rocky beach, finally stopping to paint the arch called Manneporte. Eager to capture the scene before him, and aware that he must work quickly to catch the light, Monet became so engrossed in his work that he forgot to watch the incoming tide. Based on a true incident, MONET PAINTS A DAY introduces readers to the life and nature of this illustrious impressionist. Interspersed throughout the story are excerpts from the painter’s notes and letters, while a second layer of text and back matter includes information about Impressionism as a whole. Lush watercolor illustrations in the Impressionist style give readers a visual for this artistic movement. A bibliography is also included.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Danneberg dramatizes a day in Claude Monet’s life, based on an actual event in 1885. In Étretat, France, children assist Monet in carrying his paintings down to the shore. There, the bearded artist in blue begins to paint furiously. Danneberg’s dynamic language, first-person free verse in Monet’s voice, mimics the movement in Heimerl’s impressionistic artwork: “Quickly I... ruffle my paintbrush against the canvas as jade waters ruffle against the shore’s edge.” Asides provide brief descriptions of Monet’s art and personality: “Monet’s frustration sometimes led to temper tantrums.” This lovely tribute to the artist takes a surprising turn that emphasizes the challenge of capturing ephemeral moments in nature. Ages 6–9. (July)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
This introduction to the Impressionist artist Claude Monet, based on a true incident in 1885, has the artist as narrator. He sets out for the beach on a winter day in Etretat, France, to paint. He contemplates the sea and a stone arch called the Manneporte. He mixes his colors and paints quickly, disregarding the approaching waves, until he is knocked down and dragged into the sea. Fortunately he is re-deposited on the shore. He has lost his canvas, but he vows to return to the scene. The brief text is supplemented with sentences from a letter written to his fiancee Alice, plus small factual sidebars. Using watercolors and an impressionistic technique resembling that of Monet, Heimerl sets the story on double pages that emphasize the light of the seaside and sand plus the large rocks that are the subject of the day's painting. Several poses illuminate Monet's approach to painting, plus the concentration on the changing scene that leads to his tumble into the surf. There is a reproduction of his painting of the Manneporte. The author has added background notes, a description of Monet's painting technique, and a bibliography. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Kirkus Reviews
An engaging and well-researched picture book written in the voice of the artist and drawn from the letters of the noted French Impressionist Claude Monet. In the late autumn of 1885, Monet sojourned at the coastal resort of Étretat in Normandy. Each morning Monet and village children transported his canvases, easel, paints, brushes and more to the motif he had elected to paint. One day, so absorbed in painting as much as he could within a seven- to 15-minute window--his calculation for the time it took before the light changed--Monet was actually swept away by a high tide, supplies and all. Monet struggled and fought his way to the surface and then ruefully resolved to carefully consult the tides tables from then on. Danneberg, known for picture books and early-grade fiction, does a fine job here, effectively integrating details from Monet's letters and minifacts about Impressionism and the exciting practice of plein-air painting. First-time illustrator Heimerl contributes some sensitively rendered watercolors. Though adept at small still lifes and landscapes, she often struggles with the figure and once awkwardly depicts the daubs of paint on Monet's palette as scoops of brightly hued sorbet-like blobs. Rookie mistakes notwithstanding, this is an engaging collaboration. The backmatter is particularly clear and wonderfully informative--including details on Monet's life, the theories that fueled the Impressionist movement, and the innovations in art materials that facilitated their work. Young art lovers will appreciate this appealing glimpse into the life and work of Monet.(bibliography) (Picture book. 6-9)
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—In this captivating story, Claude Monet writes a letter to his fiancée, Alice. He has traveled to Étretat, a seaside resort overlooking the English Channel, where he has an adventure on the rocky shore while painting the imposing stone arch, Manneporte. Hurrying to capture the scene on his canvas before the light changes, he pays little attention to the tide. Suddenly, a giant wave rains water down on him and he is knocked off his feet. The sea swallows him and he tumbles "like a shell against the bottom of the ocean." Finally, he lands back on the beach, where he gasps for breath, but his painting, easel, and stool have been lost. Bowing to the power of nature, he trudges back to the hotel "where dry clothes, a warm fire and a soothing cup of tea await." Undaunted, he resolves to "be back again tomorrow." Danneberg captures this brief moment in the French artist's life. Her careful word choices ("swirls," "shimmering," "ruffle," "dab," "glittering") mirror Monet's artistic style, and the images she paints are as lovely as Heimerl's watercolors. The impressionistic illustrations illuminate the first-person narrative, re-creating Monet's day at the beach in a palette of delicate pastels. The text is supplemented by factual notes on each page, as well as appended notes about Monet's career and painting technique. Pair this title with Christina Bjork's Linnea in Monet's Garden (R & S Bks., 1987).—Linda L. Walkins, Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Brighton, MA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580892407
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/1/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 818,305
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Julie Danneberg is the author of several books for children, including FIRST DAY JITTERS, FIRST YEAR LETTERS, LAST DAY BLUES, COWBOY SLIM, and FAMILY REMINDERS. She lives in Denver, Colorado.

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