Books by Joan MacPhail Knight

Joan MacPhail Knight lives in New York with her husband. Melissa Sweet has illustrated over thirty children's books. Every year she takes a trip to collect images for her beautiful collages. She lives in Maine.

CHARLOTTE IN LONDON by Joan MacPhail Knight
Released: Dec. 1, 2009

It's 1895, and Charlotte, formerly of Boston, is leaving Giverny, France, where her father studies painting with Monsieur Monet, for London, where her mother hopes to model for John Singer Sargent. Presented in a fictional diary format similar to earlier books in the series (Charlotte in Giverny, 2000, etc.), this charming tale is likewise accompanied by Sweet's appealing watercolors and inventive collage that incorporates reproductions of artwork and period photographs. When it becomes clear that Sargent has traveled on, the family, hoping their paths will intersect, continues its tour as well and enters a social whirlwind of artists and members of le beau monde, from Henry James to James Whistler to hostess Mrs. Cyprian Williams. Charlotte's witty voice, peppered with French phrases, resonates brightly as she relates her tour of England from the Tower of London to the Cotswold countryside and includes interesting tidbits of historical detail for readers to savor. A terrific choice for readers with an interest in art history, this is a strong, appealing story on its own. (artwork credits, biographical notes, author's note) (Fiction. 8-12)Read full book review >
CHARLOTTE IN NEW YORK by Joan MacPhail Knight
Released: Sept. 1, 2006

This author-illustrator pair successfully continues the conceit of the child of a fictional 19th-century American painter living in Giverny, in Paris and now in New York. The pair's attention to historical detail is utterly winning. For example, Charlotte's entries in her diary about Monsieur Durand-Ruel's auto breaking down in Giverny, the crossing on the ship Champagne from Le Havre or the Havemeyers' ball in New York. Sweet uses collage, reproductions of the paintings mentioned and her own spirited watercolors to teach a few French words, supply a recipe or to illumine Charlotte's comments about the artists' colony in New Hampshire where her family goes to escape New York's summer heat. It's hard not to be charmed by her sending a packet of the new candy, "Good and Plenty," to Monsieur Monet, who had asked for a souvenir. Fans will love to hear that Charlotte's mama wants to have her portrait painted by John Singer Sargent, so the family will be going to England next. Brief biographies of all the real artists and patrons are appended. (illustration credits, author's note) (Fiction. 8-12)Read full book review >
CHARLOTTE IN GIVERNY by Joan MacPhail Knight
Released: April 1, 2000

A fictional diary captures the Giverny of 1892 through the eyes of its little-girl owner, in this charmingly constructed conceit. In a format full of illustrations of famous Impressionist paintings, winsome watercolors, and collage bits of ribbon, lace, flower petals, and cards labeled with their French names, we read about Charlotte's visit to France. She writes about her voyage from Boston, her stay at the Baudy Hotel, the French gardener and maid, her neighbors and her tutor. She is fascinated by the glimpsed courtship of Theodore Butler and Suzanne, the daughter of Monet, who lives nearby. Other more or less well-known American Impressionists pass through Giverny and Charlotte's journal: William Merritt Chase; John Singer Sargent; Lilla Cabot Perry; and Mariquita Gill. A lot of information about life in Giverny and about painting en plein air is imparted painlessly in a font resembling very neat handwriting. The illustrations are simply irresistible. Linnea in Monet's Garden focuses on that artist and his splendid creations; this would make a natural pairing with it. Credits for the reproductions, brief biographical sketches of all the artists, and an author's note are appended. (Historical fiction. 9-13) Read full book review >