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Vincent van Gogh & the Colors of the Wind Hardcover – January 18, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 36 pages
  • Publisher: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers (January 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802853900
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802853905
  • Product Dimensions: 12.2 x 8.7 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,100,127 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4-8-This book follows van Gogh from childhood through the development of his tumultuous artistic career, concluding with his untimely death. In tracing the events of the artist's life, the author explores his close relationship with his younger brother, Theo, through excerpts from their personal correspondence. Darker elements of van Gogh's life, such as alcoholism, mental illness, and suicide, are touched upon in a way that is honest but not gratuitous. Large, imaginative illustrations match the lyrical quality of the text, while bold brushstrokes, vivid color, and images of sunflowers subtly evoke the artist's style. Reproductions of van Gogh's paintings are deftly integrated into many of the illustrations, providing readers with a look at his artistic evolution. While a background in art history is not required for a basic understanding of this title, the casual name-dropping of van Gogh's artistic peers and oblique references to characteristics of Impressionism might be lost readers unfamiliar with the subject. Although the narrative is largely fact-based, thoughts and feelings are significantly fictionalized. Most notably, a recurring motif of the wind as a confidant and guiding force in the artist's life detracts from this title's appropriateness for school reports. Although beautifully written and illustrated, this title is an additional purchase for a limited audience.-Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

This literary look at an artistic life, originally published in Italy, follows van Gogh’s many challenges and passions from childhood to death. His brother Theo plays a large role; in fact, Lossani says she was inspired by the siblings’ letters to write this title. Unfortunately, the book’s many quotations are undocumented, leaving it unclear whether any direct excerpts from the van Gogh brothers’ correspondence are actually included in the text. Fourteen reproductions of the artist’s works are integrated into the surreal,collage illustrations, which place portraits of the painter in color-saturated settings of floating windmills, shifting clouds, giant sunflowers, and splashing paint and are well-matched to the mood and tone of the words. While the text, written in lyrical stanzas, closes abruptly and may feel overlong for the picture-book format, the lines are descriptive and informative and may inspire young people to, like van Gogh, connect with nature, listen to their hearts, and ask themselves about their passions: “What will you do next? What will you become?” Grades 3-6. --Andrew Medlar

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on April 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The art of the children's biography is not for the faint of heart. If you think it consists of merely shuffling a few facts on a page you may as well just go home now. True children's biographies of individuals (particularly complex individuals) must straddle the line between storytelling and fact. Here in America, fact often wins out over storytelling. Get too creative and folks will start to doubt how much of what you say is verifiable and true. In Europe, the storytelling inclination burns long and strong. I was thinking this as I read the recent translation of Chiara Lossani's "Vincent van Gogh and the Colors of the Wind". Here we have a book that eschews a Bibliography or any kind of backmatter that would justify its method of telling its subject's life. Under normal circumstances I'd get a bit huffy about this, but there's something infinitely entrancing about Lossani's book. Taking the essential facts about the great artist's work, Lossani and artist Octavia Monaco together present a compelling look not just into van Gogh's life as an artist, but also a peek into the mind of the man himself. And children's bio or no children's bio, it ain't always pretty.

He was born in 1853 in Holland. His brother Theo came four years after that. Even from the start, though, Vincent van Gogh was a difficult guy to get along with. While Theo is good at making friends, Vincent is off-putting. This tendency doesn't lessen any as they grow older, and Vincent has a way of getting fired from various occupations (gallery employee, preacher, etc.). When at last he turns to painting, Vincent finally finds what he needs. Even so, nothing's ever easy. In Holland he paints too dark, in Paris he makes Theo's life difficult.
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By Mary Cunningham on May 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My 8 year old used it to research Van Gogh -- but the book appeals to all age levels. The art work is amazing. We did get a more accessible text book for him to read at his level, but this is a book he'll have forever.
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By Amber Hewell on December 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The illustrations are beautiful! We really enjoyed this book. Definitely a midst have if, like us, you're doing a Van Gogh study. My 6 year old still looks through it even after the study is over.
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Format: Hardcover
Vincent Van Gogh's life may not seem to have many redemptive qualities about it, from a Christian perspective. But his art is powerful and expressive. Van Gogh's passionate life was sadly cut short by sin, and serves as a testament to our fallen world. The wonder of God's creation captivated and deeply moved Van Gogh. Van Gogh's story can serve to teach our children greater lessons about life, God and sin.

While the author of this book doesn't apply the life lessons that are to be learned, this book for older children could be a helpful avenue for parents to bring up a discussion of deeper life issues and concerns. I should note, Van Gogh killed himself, may have had mental problems, and the book describes these parts of Van Gogh's story as well as one of his sinful romps. I wouldn't recommend this book for young readers, or for indiscriminate use by older readers.

Disclaimer: This book was provided by Eerdman Books for review. I was under no obligation to offer a favorable review.
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