Monday, April 25, 2016

PICTURE BOOK - The Artist and Me by Shane Peacock

Illustrated by Sophie Casson
2016 Owlkids Books
HC $16.95
40 pgs.
Goodreads rating:  3.92
My rating:  4.5
Endpapers:  white with pale blue/gray dabs of paint - a few generic photos in the front, none in the back
1st line/s:  "In the beautiful countryside in southern France near the town of Arles long ago, I used to do an ugly thing."

My comments:  4.5  This book says SO much.  The story, from the point-of-view of a bully who was horrendous to VanGogh when he lived in Arles, is excellent and thought-provoking.  I love the way that Sophie Casson used Van Gogh's paintings and put her own "brand" to them for most of the illustrations in the book.  There is one illustration, however, that is a bit off-putting to me, a doubled page spread of the bullies laughing at him.  They are really ugly and don't fit with the rest of the story somehow.  Perhaps it's to show how ugly bullies really are?
     I've already got lots of lesson plans in mind to use with this book - both for Owning Up/ Annatude/ bullying and for the glory of VanGogh's art!  This is a really nice addition to the genre of art books for kids.
     1 - Van Gogh's art
     2 - info about Van Gogh (include info from the afterword)
     3 - read aloud the book
     4 - create a piece of art using the kinds of strokes that Van Gogh and Casson used

Publisher's Weekly review.
Kirkus review.

Goodreads:  Vincent van Gogh is now known as an acclaimed, incomparable Post-Impressionist painter. But when he lived in Arles, France, in the 1880s, he was mocked for being different. Back then, van Gogh was an eccentric man with wild red hair who used clashing hues to paint unusual-looking people and strange starry skies. Children and adults alike called him names and laughed at him. Nobody bought his art. But he kept painting.
          Inspired by these events, The Artist and Me is the fictional confession of one of van Gogh’s bullies — a young boy who adopted the popular attitude of adults around him. It’s not until the boy faces his victim alone that he realizes there is more than one way to see the world.
          Artwork in the book uses vibrant color and texture to bring the laneways, cafés, and wheat fields of southern France to life while playing on scenes from van Gogh’s own work. The lyrical text carries the emotional weight of the subject and will leave readers with the understanding that everyone’s point of view is valuable.

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