> The Things You Can Read: Painting With Vincent van Gogh

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Painting With Vincent van Gogh

Camille and the Sunflowers

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tonight's read with my daughter was Camille and the Sunflowers by Laurence Anholt. Again, I read this when it was published back in early 1999, but this was the first time for her. I guess that is one of the things I love about being a mother, I get the joy of watching my daughter experience some of my favorite books for the first time. This was one of Anholt's less wordy picture books, and it was perfect for my two-year-old. She loved the illustrations and the story. The vivid illustrations jumped off the page and I had to pause numerous times as my two-year-old touched the sunflowers on the page.

We see the painter Vincent van Gogh through the eyes of one of his subjects, Camille.  His family befriends the painter on his arrival in their small village. Camille's family shows up at Vincent's yellow cottage with furniture and all the needed extras to make his stay comfortable in his new home. In return, the painter paints Camille's whole family: the postmaster, his wife, Camille's older brother, Camille, and even the baby.  Camille loves to watch Vincent paint, and he especially loves the colors that Vincent uses in his paintings, but the town folk are not as taken with the painter. Ultimately, Vincent is forced to move on, and Camille gives his friend a tearful good-bye.

The book ends with Camille's father comforting his son about the loss of their friend, Vincent van Gogh, and he tells Camille that one day the odd little painter will be much appreciated. Truer words were never spoken.

Both my daughter and I hated to leave the colorful world of Vincent van Gogh. A great read for young and old alike.

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