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VINCENT VAN GOGH AND THE COLORS OF THE WIND by Chiara Lossani

VINCENT VAN GOGH AND THE COLORS OF THE WIND

By Chiara Lossani (Author) , Octavia Monaco (Illustrator)

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8028-5390-5
Publisher: Eerdmans

This darkly fanciful portrait manifests van Gogh’s inner turmoil so well that reading it is an unsettling experience. Voluminous text and busy full-bleed murals with surreal scale and stylized perspective offer little guidance about where to focus. The narrative carries Vincent and dedicated brother Theo from childhood to death. Showy yet stilted prose and the personified wind’s cryptic role will bore pragmatists but please drama-seekers: Theo “would run through the fields until his heart burst. You’ll always be close, murmurs the wind, even when I blow different destinies your way.” Vincent moves from place to place, tormented, and Theo is helpless to calm him. Like his notorious meltdown (“in a moment of anguish, Vincent cuts his own ear”), Vincent’s death at his own hands is neither glossed over nor fully detailed. Although his brilliant artwork is a key subject, visually it’s given short shrift—reproductions are dwarfed by Monaco’s hectic illustrations and are too glossy to showcase van Gogh’s notable painterly texture. Useful as a reflection of Vincent’s unhappiness; look elsewhere to view his art. (Picture book/biography. 9-12)