The Van Gogh Cafe

by Cynthia Rylant

Hardcover, 1995

Call number



Harcourt Children's Books (1995), Edition: 1st, 64 pages


The Van Gogh Cafe, located in Flowers, Kansas, has magic in its walls, causing strange and mysterious events to occur there.

User reviews

LibraryThing member autumnreads
A sweet and simple book as comfortable to read as spending your afternoon in your favorite coffee shop on a rainy Sunday. Each chapter softly nudges you to continue on, hopeful and optimistic like a child who knows magic truly exists in the everyday occurrences of random lives coming together in
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one place. Rylant understands how to create a graceful, soft story, laced with a bit of wonder and magic that captures the reader to continue the story of this auspicious cafe.

For teachers, this book would be a great tool for character descriptions, predictions and inferences. At the end of each chapter includes a few, yet loaded phrases to keep the reading expecting more. Well done.
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LibraryThing member Hartleyca
Great, short Rylant book with lyrical wording and fun transitions from one chapter to the next. Imaginative and mysterious. Good for modeling writing.
Notable Best Books ALA 1996
LibraryThing member br13emmi
The Van Gogh Cafe by Cynthia Rylant is full of magical surprises. The main character Clara practically lives at the Van Gogh cafe. Thats because her dad owns it! She goes every morning before school and every afternoon after school to help her dad out. Like he needs help, sometimes the food cooks
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itself! But thats normal for the Van Gogh cafe. So are the future telling poems that her dad leaves all around the cafe. Everyone in town thinks of it as a second home.

What I did not like about this book was that there was no overall storyline or plot. It consisted of a short story in every chapter all about the magical occurrences in the cafe. Each chapter has its own plot. That can be both a good thing and a bad thing. Bad thing meaning there's no real story. Good thing being that you stay interested. This reminds me of a book of short stories.

Overall the book was very interesting and I did enjoy reading it and all of its magical surprises. I would definitely recommend The Van Gogh Cafe by Cynthia Rylant. You will never want to put this book down.
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LibraryThing member Whisper1
This is a book that confirms my love of the creativity of Rylant.

The Van Gogh Cafe is magical and there is no doubt about that for ten year old Clara.

Her father owns the cafe and she helps to dispense the food to those who visit.

Once a theater, perhaps some of the magic remains. While Clara's
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father pens poems on napkins, the food cooks itself, including marvelous lemon pies.

Muffins wrapped in foil and left by a previous movie star have the power to heal. A possum hangs upside down near the window of the cafe and gives purpose to a disillusioned man who opens a shelter for lost animals; a Emerald the cat falls in love with the sea gull who appeared mysteriously in Flowers, Kansas!

This is a delightful, soft, wonderfully written tale. I loved it!!!
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LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
Sweet, a little bit too much so. Not sure of the relevance of naming the cafe after a French mad artist. But I'm rating it highly because: one of the little stories was about a true love that lasted a lifetime - that just happened to involve, btw, two men. Recommended for fans of Alice Hoffman and
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others who like rich bites of heartwarming fantasy.
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LibraryThing member sweetiegherkin
At the Van Gogh Cafe, located in an otherwise sleepy town, strange things have been known to happen....

This book caught my eye with its beautiful cover artwork, as well as with the author's name, as Rylant has written many a picture book. The description sounded interesting, but I felt that the
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book fell a bit flat.

It was not bad, but it was not entirely gripping either. It seemed to be more in a vignette style than a linear plot, although it was moving ahead chronologically. The characterizations were pretty slim and one-dimensional.

Perhaps it just wasn't my cup of tea, for this book did win heaps of praise and honors. To me, it just felt like the title didn't live up to all that.
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LibraryThing member infopump
Start with a mention of magic the next thing you know, you have men marrying men. Thanks for clueing me in RJ.
Thank you, anti-gay concerned parent one-star Amazon raters, for invariably letting me know when a children’s book has unexpected LGBTQ content.

Seriously I didn’t even have to read the
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review of this one, I just saw the lone one-star and said to myself, “ooh, I bet there’s gay stuff!”

Parents Beware!, October 9, 2003 By kelly (Georgia)
I was hoping this would be another great book by Rylant, but I was shocked to find the cleverly woven references to homosexuality....this is a book for young readers...not appropriate!
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PEN Center USA Literary Award (Winner — Children's Literature — 1996)
Grand Canyon Reader Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 1999)
Read Aloud Indiana Book Award (Intermediate — 2001)




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