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The Magical Garden of Claude Monet

Last updated Thursday, February 8, 2007

Author: Laurence Anholt
Date of Publication: 2003
ISBN: 0764155741
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Feb. 2007

Synopsis: (From School Library Journal) An engaging introduction to Monet's later work, featuring his gardens at Giverny. Based on a visit to the artist by a girl who turns out to be the daughter of Impressionist Berthe Morisot and a niece of Edouard Manet, The Magical Garden effortlessly combines artistic fancy with biographical fact. The simple story of a city child's day in the country is brought to life through clear text and vibrant gouache illustrations that blend seamlessly to provide an ideal introduction to Monet's temperament, work habits, and aesthetic. Anholt pulls off a deft illustrative trick, using his own fluid style to capture the flavor of many of Monet's most frequently reproduced works. Several illustrations are successful combinations of photo reproductions of Monet's paintings overlaid with Anholt's drawings of the artist and Julie. Particularly impressive is the foldout spread that depicts Monet, Julie, and her dog gliding across the lake in a small boat. The figures are incorporated into Monet's masterpiece Waterlilies: Morning.

Note to readers:
•  You may wish to read the last page for further information about the book and the characters.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Do you know who Claude Monet is? What do you know about any other famous painters?
•  Where are the characters on the cover? Have you ever been anywhere that looks like this?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Have you ever dreamed of going somewhere far away with your friends?
•  What kinds of magical places do you visit in your dreams?
•  Monet says that gardeners and painters need to be patient. Name an instance where you have to be patient. Is it hard to be patient?
•  Monet gives Julie a special water lily. Have you ever gotten a special present from a friend? What made it special?
•  Do you have a pet? Is your pet your best friend? Has your pet or your friends pet ever run away? What did you do?
•  Whats the difference between a garden and a park?

Craft ideas:
•  Plant a seed. BRING AHEAD MATERIALS: egg cartons or paper cups, paper towels, dried peas or seeds. Have kids decorate the egg cartons or cups. Plant seeds in wet paper towel and put in cup. It will take at least a week to grow. (Instructions provided.)
•  Draw a garden using Monets techniques of shading. Using crayons or colored pencils, lightly sketch a garden scene. Use shading, dark, light, different colors to color in your sketch.
•  Make a paper lily. To create the petals: cut out several different sized squares out of different colors of construction paper. Fold a square in half to create a triangle. Fold the triangle in half again so you have a smaller triangle. Using scissors, round out the points of the long side of the triangle. Cut a "V" shape in the middle of the long side. Unfold and see your flower. Repeat with the other squares. To create the flower: glue the petals on top of each other, staggering them to show the different colors.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!