Van Gogh and the Post-Impressionists for Kids: Their Lives and Ideas, 21 Activities
(Chicago Review Press, May 1, 2011)
Swirling, curling brushstrokes. Vivid colors. Thick layers of paint. These are the hallmarks of a painting by Vincent van Gogh, whose work his fellow artist Paul Cézanne once called “that of a madman.” But Van Gogh and the Post-Impressionists for Kids moves beyond the image of the mad pauper to reveal a complex young man who loved nature and reading, spoke four languages, and enjoyed a successful career as a gallery salesman before embarking on studies as a minister and, finally, finding his calling as an artist. Kids journey from the Netherlands to Paris to southern France as they learn about van Gogh’s friendships with four other like-minded painters who admired but were determined to depart from Impressionism: Paul Gauguin, Paul Signac, Émile Bernard, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Aspiring artists and history buffs learn not only how these Post-Impressionists’ daring shapes, colors, and techniques distinguished their work from what was painted before but also how the men helped one another and whether or not they always got along. Twenty-one creative projects bring history and art to life. Readers will create a Starry Night peep box, make a Pointillist sailboat (that can really sail!), craft a Japanese fold-out album, and much more. The text includes a time line, glossary, and reading list for further study.