Gr 2-4-In this story that has roots in historical fact, Camille and his postman father meet a stranger who comes to their town with no money and no friends. They give him furniture and friendship, and he paints a picture of each member of their family. The boy visits the man and takes him sunflowers, but the townspeople drive Vincent away because he's too odd and he doesn't have what they consider a real job. This sad tale can stand alone, and, while it omits important details, its tone matches that of other accounts of Van Gogh's short life. Unfortunately, the CIP information, the names and locations of the Roulin family paintings, and a biographical note about Van Gogh are printed inside the book covers under the jacket flaps. The sketchy pen-and-watercolor illustrations are punctuated with seven fine art reproductions, including a little known ``Portrait of Camille Roulin'' and the famous ``Vase with 14 Sunflowers.'' The Roulins and the yellow house in which the artist stayed when he was in Arles, France, are seen in context in Bruce Bernard's Van Gogh (Dorling Kindersley, 1993). The two books complement one another and provide a greater understanding of this gifted, troubled man.-Carolyn Jenks, First Parish Unitarian Church, Portland, ME
Based on a true encounter, this tells the story of a small boy named Camille who befriends the troubled painter Vincent van Gogh when he comes to live in a village in the Dutch countryside. Camille is heartbroken because most of the local people jeer at the artist, who never sells a picture. Some of Anholt's illustrations are based on famous van Gogh scenes (the view of his bedroom, for example); Anholt also includes reproductions of actual paintings, such as van Gogh's "Sunflowers," and portraits of Camille and his family. This book will show children how art transforms ordinary things. Pair it with Nichol's "Beethoven Lives Upstairs" , which is also about a strange, lonely genius who enters a child's daily life.