A Blue Butterfly: A Story About Claude Monet

by Bijou Le Tord

Other authorsBijou Le Tord (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 1995


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Call number

E 92 Mo


Doubleday Books for Young Readers (1995), Hardcover, 32 pages


In a garden of spectacular beauty in Giverny, France, Claude Monet painted flowers. Dazzled by the light, he painted with rich colors of vermilion, emerald, and violet. His poppies, tulips, irises, and waterlilies have awed the world. In her radiant watercolors, Bijou Le Tord uses Monet's own palette of only eight colors. Her magnificent paintings and poetic words celebrate the extraordinary vision of the beloved impressionist painter, Claude Monet.

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Media reviews

Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, 1995) Le Tord (Peace on Earth, 1992, etc.) tries to recreate the mood of the French painter's work and is only partially successful--her pastels capture the airy impressionism of Monet's flowers and water gardens but cannot so skillfully abstract objects into color and light
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using a minimum number of brush strokes. There are none of the dark, sharp-edged colors of the artist's palette, nor are there reproductions of Monet's work to help readers understand to what Le Tord is making reference. What is left is something of a homage in an ephemeral, poetic text. While matching the mood of the illustrations ("Claude Monet painted flowers like tiny jewels"), this book isn't nearly as helpful as Richard Muhlberger's What Makes a Monet? (1993). That title, for older readers, includes biographical material, reproductions, and analysis. Monet (1990), by Mike Venzia, addressing the same age audience as Le Tord's work, is even more informative, despite the distraction of some cartoony illustrations. Le Tord's volume will be useful to young readers mainly as adjunct to viewing Monet's work in a book or museum; only then will readers appreciate Le Tord and Monet's painting challenge.
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Carolyn Phelan (Booklist, Oct. 15. 1995 (Vol. 92, No. 4)) Not so much a story about Monet (as the subtitle states) as a tribute to him, this picture book uses the colors of his palette and reflections on his work as the basis for a picture book. The often poetic text extends vertically down each
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page like free verse: "Monet / painted / as / a / bird / sings, / for / himself." The watercolor paintings, which sometimes include the figure of the artist, suggest Monet's paintings without slavishly copying them. Although the most enthusiastic audience for this book (like M. B. Goffstein's picture books about artists) may be adult, it would be an interesting choice to share with a child before visiting a Monet exhibit or to read to a school class as part of a "picture person" presentation. Category: For the Young. 1995, Doubleday, $15.95. Ages 5-8.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member TamaraSmith
Monet is one of my favorite artists so I really enjoyed reading this cute short story. The author recreats some of Monet's famous paintings and talks of how he would paint outside regardless of the weather. I would read this and maybe have the students try to recreate a Monet painting. I think that
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would be a fun lesson about art.
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Physical description

32 p.; 10.6 x 9.78 inches


0385311028 / 9780385311021


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