Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Camille and the Sunflowers: A Story about Vincent Van Gogh

Camille and the Sunflowers: A Story about Vincent Van Gogh

Laurence Anholt
Picture Book  Series
For ages 5 to 7
Barron’s, 1994   ISBN: 978-0812064094

Camille was the son of the postman in a little town in the south of France. He loved to help his father unload the bags of mail from the train every day, and one day he saw a most peculiar looking man getting off the train. The man told them that he was "Vincent, the painter" and soon he was living in the little yellow house on Camille's street.

Camille and his family did their best to help this penniless and lonely man and soon the boy and the man were good friends. Camille gave Vincent a huge bunch of flowers to decorate his home and the two of them went out into the countryside to finds scenes for Vincent to paint. Camille saw the beauty and wonder in Vincent's art and it hurt him to discover that the other villagers did not appreciate Vincent's talent and did not like having him live in their village. In fact, in the end, they drove the painter out and Camille had to stay goodbye to his friend, but not before Vincent gave him and his family some extraordinary paintings to remember him by.

Based on the story of the real relationship between Camille and his family and the painter Vincent Van Gogh, this beautiful book would serve as an excellent introduction to the life and art of Vincent. The author's art work is very reminiscent of that of Vincent himself and he includes reproductions of some of Vincent's most well-known paintings including portraits of Camille and his family, and the remarkable picture of a bunch of sunflowers in a brown jug.

At the back of the book the author provides a brief biography of Van Gogh?s extraordinary, and sadly short life.