Painting the Wind: A Story of Vincent van Gogh

Overview

In the Yellow House in the city of Arles, France, lives a painter named Vincent van Gogh. Vincent's neighbors are all a little afraid of him--all but a little girl named Claudine. Vincent's paintings and unconventional behavior intrigue the young girl. When the people of Arles, fearful of the painter's strange ways, petition the magistrate to ban Vincent from the town, Claudine must decide whether she, like Vincent, has the courage to stand up for what she believes. Full color. ...
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Hawkes, Kevin 1996 Hard cover First edition. New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 32 p. Audience: Children/juvenile.

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Overview

In the Yellow House in the city of Arles, France, lives a painter named Vincent van Gogh. Vincent's neighbors are all a little afraid of him--all but a little girl named Claudine. Vincent's paintings and unconventional behavior intrigue the young girl. When the people of Arles, fearful of the painter's strange ways, petition the magistrate to ban Vincent from the town, Claudine must decide whether she, like Vincent, has the courage to stand up for what she believes. Full color.

Entranced by the paintings of the unconventional artist Vincent Van Gogh, for whom her mother is working as a housekeeper, Claudine is saddened when the townspeople turn against him.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Claudine, the daughter of Vincent van Gogh's charwoman, is the only person in Arles who finds the artist and his work exciting rather than threatening. She dreams of becoming an artist herself, and, as represented by Hawkes's (The Librarian Who Measured the Earth) vibrant settings, she begins to see through her hero's eyes: "the trees no longer looked green to her, but gold and purple and orange and blue, and their branches danced like flames." Claudine notes van Gogh's compulsive work habits and volatility, and also witnesses Gauguin's tumultuous visit and the artist's depression following the ear-mutilation episode. But Claudine remains enchanted by his gifts and overcomes her meekness to defend Arles's bte noire, praising his work in full view of the hostile townspeople. Van Gogh, however, remains a shadowy, distant figure, and the story is not likely to carry much weight with those not already familiar with van Gogh. Hawkes demonstrates great versatility: his lush, charismatic oil illustrations evoke by turns the intensity of van Gogh's paintings, the relative tranquility of a more conventional vision and the dark period of van Gogh's depression. While Claudine's love of art and righteous loyalty can seem emotionally airbrushed, Dionetti (Coal Mine Peaches) and Hawkes successfully demonstrate the power of art to transform vision. Ages 6-10. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Claudine, the charwoman's young daughter, is not at all afraid of Fou Roux, or the Redheaded Fool, as the people of Arles named Vincent van Gogh. She admires his bright bold art; it speaks to her and brightens her hard life. She tells him so in front of the citizens who have banned him from town. He rewards her with a painting of sunflowers. A piece of historical fiction with pictures painted in a style akin to that of the great artist.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4A year in the life of van Gogh is seen through the eyes and thoughts of a fictional girl. Her mother is the painter's charwoman, a person actually mentioned in one of his letters. Claudine, while helping clean the Yellow House in Arles, observes the artist during one of his periods of frantic creativity. She sees him paint the mistral wind and the sun. She observes him quarreling with his friend Gauguin, hears how he sliced his ear in anger, and sadly stands by as he is forced out of town. Unlike the townspeople, Claudine loves van Gogh's paintings. She sees the colors he finds in the trees, views swirling stars in the sky, and responds to the intense yellows of his sunflowers. When she bids him farewell, he gives her a small painting, because she has learned to see the world as he does. Dionetti's writing is sensitive and lyrical, full of color and feeling. The text is imposed on Hawkes's thick, textured, brightly colored oil paintings that fill every page. The heavy brush strokes; flat, impressionistic figures; and interesting changes in perspective underscore the story's descriptions and evocation of art. The child's-eye view is an effective way to introduce a bit of art history, and the most tragic details of van Gogh's tempestuous life are effectively avoided in favor of an emphasis on his artistic vision.Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316186025
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 10/1/1996
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.86 (w) x 11.36 (h) x 0.36 (d)

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