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One day a strange man arrives in Camille's town. He has a straw hat and a yellow beard. The man turns out to be the artist Vincent van Gogh. This is an introduction to the great painter, seen through the eyes of a young boy entranced by his painting. There are reproductions of Van Gogh's work.
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About the Author

Laurence Anholt is part of a husband-and-wife team who have worked together on more than 60 picture books, published all over the world in more than 17 different languages. Their picture books -- including the Chimp and Zee series -- have won numerous awards and have been featured on television and radio. Laurence has been described by William Watt as one of the most versatile authors writing for children today. He was brought up mainly in Holland where he developed a lasting passion for art. He is a much sought after public speaker, appearing at conferences such as the European Council of International Schools Conference, the Northern Children's Book Festival and the Edinburgh Festival. To visit the Anholts' website click here

Reviews

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

Use of a child's perspective renders the subject matter more accessible for children, helps to disguise the educational aspect of the book and brings a fresh sense of wonder to the artist. The illustrations are bright and cheerful, with a couple of repeated motifs, such as van Gogh's pipe and straw hat, to ensure the images are simple but memorable. The writing is simple and spare but with well-chosen words, which should leave children effortlessly remembering that van Gogh painted sunflowers, and that he was unappreciated in his lifetime. The themes are that of being patient, whilst not giving up, in the face of rejection and tolerance of people who are different. -- Elizabeth Jones www.writeaway.org.uk Delightful! a most attractive introduction to the artist and his work School Librarian The excellent illustrations include some of Van Gogh's own work and the picture of him in his bedroom is cleverly based on his own painting. The story includes the way he was teased and driven away for being different so it leads naturally to discussion of bullying Books for Keeps

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