Mr. Gauguin's Heart

Overview

Based on a true story, Mr. Gauguin’s Heart is about the birth of imagination and the solace of art. Young Paul Gauguin sailed from Denmark to Peru with his family: his mother, his father, his sister, Marie, and his odd-looking, imaginary orange dog. At first being on the boat was fun; he loved to walk his dog on the ship’s bridge. Then one day, Paul found his mother in tears; his father had died.

When the ship docked, Paul refused to leave. Then an old man took him by the hand ...

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Ex-Library Book - will contain Library Markings. Dust Cover Missing. Light shelf wear and minimal interior marks. Millions of satisfied customers and climbing. Thriftbooks is the ... name you can trust, guaranteed. Spend Less. Read More. Read more Show Less

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Arsenault, Isabelle Toronto, Canada 2007 Hard cover Good. Sewn binding. Paper over boards. Picture book. With dust jacket. 24 p. Contains: Illustrations. Intended for a ... juvenile audience. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Based on a true story, Mr. Gauguin’s Heart is about the birth of imagination and the solace of art. Young Paul Gauguin sailed from Denmark to Peru with his family: his mother, his father, his sister, Marie, and his odd-looking, imaginary orange dog. At first being on the boat was fun; he loved to walk his dog on the ship’s bridge. Then one day, Paul found his mother in tears; his father had died.

When the ship docked, Paul refused to leave. Then an old man took him by the hand and in a few brush strokes, he had stirred a passion that lay just beneath the boy’s surface. He had shown Paul how to paint, but, more than that, he taught him how to bring his memories to life.

Mr. Gauguin’s Heart is a charming and heartwarming story of how, as a boy, Paul Gauguin learned to channel his grief from the death of his father and pour it into his first painting — one that would pave the way to many masterpieces.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

How a young Paul Gauguin copes with grief-finding solace in art-is the subject of this French-Canadian work, which can be somewhat unsettling in its imagery and themes. After his father dies on the family's ocean voyage from Europe to Peru, Paul "sees" his father being carried away by a big orange balloon whose surface bears a crude line drawing of an anatomical heart (other passengers see only a setting sun). First-time illustrator Arsenault paints Paul's vision as well as his spry-looking imaginary dog in ruddy hues that stand out against the predominantly subdued grays and blues, bright spots that speak to Paul's innocence and resilience. Though some might find the ghostly white, disproportionately large faces of Paul's family disturbing, their paleness echoes the story's solemn tone and the jarring subject of a parent's death. When an older gentleman passenger befriends Paul and teaches him that with art "you can bring things to life . . . or prolong the life they had," Paul paints the huge sun over the ocean (which viewers incorrectly interpret as the Japanese flag). Croteau's lengthy text gracefully relates these events, but without the presence of any historical notes, readers will be left wondering how much poetic license the author has taken. Ages 6-9. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature
This odd book claims to be based on a true story. In 1849 the Gauguin family did sail to Peru when journalist Clovis Gauguin was exiled for political activities, but, born in 1848, Paul was only one year old and could not possibly remember his father’s death on shipboard. In later memoirs, Gauguin makes no mention of such events, nor did his mother record memories of Lima. How did the story arise? For those drawn to it, the tale might best be approached as the story of a sensitive boy (imagination symbolized by an imaginary orange dog) attempting to cope with the sudden death of his father, which he simply does not understand. (His mother tells him the father was “carried away,” and “It was his heart.”) Paul, seeing the red setting sun from the ship’s deck, believes it is his father’s heart carrying him away. Later, a passenger takes pity on the grieving boy, meets him in a Lima park, and shows Paul how to paint, saying “painting is magic” and “can bring things to life.” When the boy goes home and paints a huge red ball--his father’s heart--adults believe it’s the flag of Japan (one can only wonder why). Paul does finally smile again, the orange dog recedes, art transcends grief, and Paul goes on to become a great painter. This might work as a fable, but why link it to Gauguin? Though some may find the strange story moving, others may just find it puzzling. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780887768248
  • Publisher: Tundra
  • Publication date: 9/11/2007
  • Edition description: Translatio
  • Pages: 24
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Marie-Danielle Croteau was born in Quebec, where she studied communications and art history in university. Croteau has worked for both Radio-Canada and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Over the course of twenty years, she has lived in Africa, France, the Caribbean, French Polynesia, and Central America. She has also crossed the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans in a sailboat with her husband and her two kids, both born in Africa. During her travels, she wrote her first novel, which was published in 1993. Croteau is now a widely recognized author for both children and adults. She splits her time between Quebec City and Costa Rica.

Isabelle Arsenault is a graphic-design graduate who has applied her skills to illustration. She contributes to magazines and newspapers across the US and Canada, and has been the recipient of major illustration awards such as the prestigious Governor General’s Literary Awards for Illustration, Communication Arts Illustration Annual, and the National Magazine Awards of Canada. Arsenault lives in Montreal, and Le coeur de monsieur Gauguin, the original French version of Mr. Gauguin’s Heart, is her first book.

Susan Ouriou is a Calgary-based novelist, interpreter, and translator of fiction. One of her greatest pleasures is sharing with English readers, young and old, the stories she loves in French and Spanish. A runner-up for the John Glassco Translation Prize for The Thirteenth Summer and two-time finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Translation for The Road to Chlifa and Necessary Betrayals, she has some twenty translations to her credit as well as her own novel Damselfish. Currently, Ouriou is busy writing her second novel.

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