Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Starry Night

The Starry Night

Neil Waldman
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 8
Boyds Mill Press, 1999   ISBN: 978-1563977367

Bernard is out playing with his friends in Central Park one day when he sees a man painting. Though his friends keep on going Bernard stops to take a look at what the man is painting. So amazed is he by what he sees that he stays to watch the man work and then offers to take the man, who is called Vincent, to see some "amazing places" that he can paint.

Bernard takes Vincent to the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, Harlem, Greenwich Village, Times Square, and many other wonderful places in the city and Vincent paints beautiful colourful and vibrant pictures of each site and place.

Then one day Vincent tells Bernard that it is time for him to go but before he leaves he wants to take Bernard someplace. The place he takes the boy is the Museum of Modern Art and inside he shows Bernard a painting of a village lying beneath a starry sky. It is at this point that Bernard discovers who his mysterious and wonderful friend is.

Though Bernard misses his friend, Vincent has given him a gift that Bernard will never forget, and Bernard takes up a paper and some colored pencils to create a picture of his own.

In this book Neil Waldman not only tells a wonderful story about a special friendship that reaches across time, but he also has created some extraordinary paintings in Van Gogh’s style of some of the most famous landmarks of New York City. Through both the art and the story we get a sense of Van Gogh’s loneliness and also how much a child can be moved and touched by art. This is a superb picture book which will delight art lovers of all ages.