Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Charlotte in New York

Charlotte in New York

Joan MacPhail Knight
Illustrator:   Melissa Sweet 
Historical Fiction Picture Book  Series
For ages 6 to 8
Chronicle Books, 2006   ISBN: 978-0811850056

When a motor car breaks down in Giverny Charlotte and her friend Lizzy are amazed to discover that the driver is bringing them very exciting news. The fathers of the two girls have been invited to participate in an art exhibition in New York City and the two families are going to go to the New York City together. Before they leave though Charlotte and her parents travel to Brittany to meet the ?difficult? and illusive painter Paul Gauguin. Charlotte learns that Monsieur Gauguin paints in a style which is very different from that adopted by the impressionist painters.

Then at last the journey across the Atlantic begins. There is plenty to do and lots of wonderful people to get to know and to spend time with, and soon enough the ship is steaming past the Statue of Liberty. In a flurry of activity the two families get themselves settled in the apartment that is to be their home for a while and soon they are getting about the city meeting old friends, taking walks in the park, going to parties, visiting the sights, preparing for the art exhibition, and more.

As they read this beautifully presented book readers will not only enjoy reading about Charlotte?s fascinating adventures in France and America but they will also get a picture of what it was like to be a part of the art scene in the late 1800?s in both countries. The story is complimented by Charlotte?s own sketches, scrapbook like collage creations, and reproductions of paintings which were created by the painters mentioned in the text and which show scenes like those described in the text.

At the back of the book readers will find further information about the artworks shown in the book and about the artists who created them. There is also an ?Author?s Note? which discusses how much of Charlotte?s story is true and how much of it is fiction.