A handsome, appealing, informative look at an artist who continues to fascinate.

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THE GARDEN OF MONSIEUR MONET

This import is a refreshing graphic-novel–inflected collaboration by two living artists about a third.

Ascari (aka Elfo) has enjoyed a long career as a cartoonist and illustrator in his native Italy. Writer and illustrator Valentinis has won the prestigious Italian Hans Christian Andersen illustration award. Their focus? The ever accessible French impressionist Claude Monet and his amazing, carefully planned, created garden in Giverny. This garden is at once the culmination of his life’s work, his preferred canvas, and an enduring inspiration. The spare text is well-paced with carefully selected details. Illustrations feature strong, black graphic lines and wonderful flat expanses of color that echo the Japanese prints that inspired the impressionists. The real star here is the garden. Ascari and Valentinis help readers see Monet’s vision and watch the garden develop and grow. They meet Monet’s dedicated team of gardeners and see how they went off to fight in World War I (clad in distinctive red Zouave pantaloons). The book’s design uses the interior front and back cover boards to amplify the text with information on the belle époque and Giverny’s seasonal flowers and shrubs. A few seemingly dropped-in pages include brief biographies of major impressionists, gardening tools, and a précis of Monet’s life.

A handsome, appealing, informative look at an artist who continues to fascinate. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-910350-19-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Royal Academy of Arts

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015

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BUSY, BUSY SQUIRRELS

A longer—but less interesting—text than the author's Never Kiss an Alligator (1989) and Elephants on the Beach (1990). Introducing both tree and and ground squirrels, with information on how they eat, live, and protect themselves plus some appealing bits on baby squirrels, the pedestrian text begins, ``Squirrels are furry, bright, lively little animals that are very busy,'' and concludes, ``Good night, busy squirrels, good night.'' The many appealing, colorful close-up photos are the best feature here. Index. (Nonfiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-525-65063-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1991

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BONNARD FROM A TO Z

Sellier (Matisse from A to Z, 1995, etc.) has created another succinct biography told in ABC form, by matching one relevant French word to an aspect of the artist's life (Bulles for bubbles, as well as Ubu and Winterthur). Unlike the art of Matisse and Monet, Bonnard's work hasn't been replicated to an excess; perhaps that's why his paintings seem such a breath of fresh air. A friend of Vuillard and Roussel, Bonnard was included in a group of artists called the Nabis (the Hebrew word for prophet), who believed everything should be a work of art. Bonnard put this theory to practice, painting on fans, room screens, and dressers, as well as canvas. His work often portrayed domestic subjects—children, pets, and his wife, Marthe. From such details, Sellier arranges a touching homage to a painter whose brush recorded the many crucial details necessary to create un petit monde—the ``small world'' that was Bonnard's definition of a painting. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-87226-479-3

Page Count: 60

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1997

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