Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Charlotte in Giverny

Charlotte in Giverny

Joan MacPhail Knight
Illustrator:   Melissa Sweet 
Picture Book  Series
For ages 7 to 10
Chronicle Books, 2000   ISBN: 978-0811823838

Charlotte, her mother, and her father are moving to France for a year where Charlotte's father plans to travel around painting and spending time with other painters, especially the ones who have adopted the "new" way of painting which everyone is calling "Impressionism."

Charlotte's diary describing her adventures begins with her family making the most uncomfortable journey across the Atlantic in the ocean liner La Lorraine. Then they are in Paris and having a wonderful time of it, visiting the sites and getting painting supplies before they get on the train to go to Giverny, the town where many of the Impressionist painters live and work.

Soon Charlotte and her family are settled in a little stone house and are surrounded by wonderful, fun-loving, and incredibly creative people. Charlotte creates her own little garden and she also gets to visit the garden of a now very famous painter, Claude Monet. Not only that, but Charlotte gets to attend a wedding, the wedding of Suzanne Monet and an American painter called Theodore Butler.

Then there are days working in the garden, painting, boating on the river, going to the beach, picking fruit for jam, and enjoying all the activities that the different seasons in the south of France have to offer.

Filled with wonderful reproductions of famous Impressionist art, period photographs, charming watercolor artwork by Charlotte and numerous collages presented in a scrapbook format, this book is a must for anyone who loves art, France, and reading historical fiction. It is beautiful to look at and highly satisfying to read.

Charlotte's adventures in France continue in "Charlotte in Paris."