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Dreamer from the Village: The Story of Marc Chagall Hardcover – July 14, 2005


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); 1st edition (August 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805063730
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805063738
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 0.4 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #581,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-4–Opening with the artist's dramatic birth during a fire in a small Russian village, Markel describes Chagall's childhood and early career. The village, his extended family, and deep Jewish roots are all emphasized, elements that are central to understanding his art. The author explains how Chagall saw the world, and himself, in a different way. He painted the way he felt, not how things actually were, which makes his work unique. The language is often poetic: The town was like a richness that filled him and later: silver stars trembled on a velvet spring sky. Markel makes Chagall and his work accessible to children. Indeed, children are closer to the world of dreams and imagination than most adults, and many will find his work very appealing. The vivid illustrations are inspired by Chagall, but Lisker doesn't attempt to copy his style directly. Only one actual reproduction is included at the end, along with a brief author's note, a traditional biography, and a short glossary of Jewish terms used in the text. This is not a biography for reports, but rather an excellent portrait of an artist that will open and expand children's minds.–Robin L. Gibson, formerly at Perry County District Library, New Lexington, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

K-Gr. 3. Both straightforward and whimsical, this well-paced picture-book biography of Marc Chagall follows the artist from childhood to his triumphant showing at the Louvre, when he was 90. Brief paragraphs describe Chagall's early sense that he "was different from other boys. He saw things they didn't see." Those visions are blended into the story's busy, bright acrylic paintings, and children may have trouble separating dream and biography in the crowded spreads and passages of text, such as, "One afternoon, the color of this uncle's skin drifted out the window, onto the street." They may also need more explanation about Jewish references mentioned in the book, though the brief glossary will help. But even if children don't understand the sense in all the words, Markel's book is a creative introduction to the artist that reinforces the notion that pictures can show ideas and feelings, rather than "the way things really look." More biographical details close. Also suggest Marc Chagall (2001) by Elisabeth Lemke and Thomas David, which includes reproductions of Chagall's work. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Heidi Estrin on March 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This picture book biography offers a dreamy, almost surreal text accompanied, of course, by Chagall-inspired pictures. The style suits the subject matter well, turning the book into a cross between a biography and a tribute. While it may not be the most useful book for reports, it certainly conveys the personality of Chagall very well and is more likely than a straight biography to get readers interested in the artist's life and work. An endnote provides some more solid facts and historical context, as well as an actual example of Chagall's art. Judaism was prominent in Chagall's life and work, and is thus woven into both text and illustrations of this biography.

This book was named a 2006 Notable Children's Book of Jewish Content by the Association of Jewish Libraries.

To hear a review of this book by a pair of talented third graders, listen to the podcast The Book of Life at [...] (February 2006 episode).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Carrie J. Snell on March 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I use this book when presenting the artwork "I and the Village" to 4th grade students. I really gives life to my speech and shows the children in vivid color the life of this wonderful artist.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jane Easton on July 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This books accomplishes A LOT! The author has tailored Chagall's story to embrace his experience as a child who doesn't see things as "normal" people do. Any child that has experienced being different will relate. The illustrations beautifully capture Chagall's style and do a great job in preparing children for appreciating his art.
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By Jewish Book World Magazine on February 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This lovely book is a delightful introduction for children to the life of Marc Chagall. The vibrancy of the gorgeous illustrations (in Chagall style, of course) paired with the simple and charming text, make this a sure winner. Chagall's Jewish roots are lovingly portrayed; from his first days in heder, to the holidays he celebrated with his family. For example, here is the entire text from a vibrant double page spread of his family observing Passover: "The seasons brought wondrous holidays. On Passover, Marc loved the colorful pictures in the Haggadah. He loved the deep violet of the wine in his father's glass. And when he opened the door for the prophet Elijah, silver stars trembled on a velvet spring sky." The illustrations exude a domestic tranquility and beauty and even the choice of typeface for the text is appealing in its simplicity. The reader eventually finds out why Chagall is so unusual: "Marc knew he was different from other boys. He saw things they didn't see. On the Sabbath, enchanted by the singing of prayers, Marc saw houses floating." Chagall's devout family regards image making as a sin, but Marc goes to art school and eventually ends up in Paris after World War II. At the age of 90 he gets his own exhibition at the Louvre--one of the very few living artists to be honored in such a way. You don't have to love art to love this book.

Reviewed by Lisa Silverman
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Judilyn Duba on October 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
My classroom loves this one as they can feel the pain and rejoyce in the power of spirit.
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More About the Author

Michelle is the acclaimed author of nonfiction picture books for children, including THE FANTASTIC JUNGLES OF HENRI ROUSSEAU, which won the 2013 PEN/Steven Kroll award for exceptional picture book writing, and BRAVE GIRL: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909, winner of the 2014 Jane Addams Award for Younger Readers, and the Bank Street College CBC Award for nonfiction. She lives with her family in West Hills, California.

You can find out more about Michelle by visiting her website at www.michellemarkel.com.

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