An engaging and well-researched picture book written in the voice of the artist and drawn from the letters of the noted French Impressionist Claude Monet.
In the late autumn of 1885, Monet sojourned at the coastal resort of Étretat in Normandy. Each morning Monet and village children transported his canvases, easel, paints, brushes and more to the motif he had elected to paint. One day, so absorbed in painting as much as he could within a seven- to 15-minute window—his calculation for the time it took before the light changed—Monet was actually swept away by a high tide, supplies and all. Monet struggled and fought his way to the surface and then ruefully resolved to carefully consult the tides tables from then on. Danneberg, known for picture books and early-grade fiction, does a fine job here, effectively integrating details from Monet’s letters and minifacts about Impressionism and the exciting practice of plein-air painting. First-time illustrator Heimerl contributes some sensitively rendered watercolors. Though adept at small still lifes and landscapes, she often struggles with the figure and once awkwardly depicts the daubs of paint on Monet’s palette as scoops of brightly hued sorbet-like blobs. Rookie mistakes notwithstanding, this is an engaging collaboration. The backmatter is particularly clear and wonderfully informative—including details on Monet’s life, the theories that fueled the Impressionist movement, and the innovations in art materials that facilitated their work.
Young art lovers will appreciate this appealing glimpse into the life and work of Monet.(bibliography) (Picture book. 6-9)