A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Linnea in Monet's Garden was originally published in 1987 and is reissued in this 25th anniversary edition. It's the fictional story of a little girl, Linnea, who travels with an older neighbor to Paris, sees Monet's art in museums, and tours the artist's home and gardens in the nearby town of Giverny. Narrated by Linnea, it effectively conveys the wonder, magic, and skill of Monet's paintings from a kid's perspective. It's also packed with solid historical and biographical information, including that Monet lived with his second wife, Alice, before they were married (after her husband abandoned her and her kids). As soon as her husband died, they did wed. The book was adapted for an animated film in 1999.
What's the story?
LINNEA IN MONET'S GARDEN is a wonderful book about the art of French Impressionist painter Claude Monet. First published in the United States in 1987, it was a popular children's book that spawned Linnea dolls and a charming animated film version of this story. The book has been out of print in recent years, but was picked up by Sourcebooks for this 25th anniversary edition. It tells the story of a little girl, Linnea, who travels to Paris with her older, white-haired neighbor Mr. Bloom (presumably from Sweden, where the book was originally published in Swedish, but it's never mentioned). Together they take the train to Giverney and tour Monet's home and gardens -- twice, meeting Monet's great-grandosn the second time. Narrated by Linnea, with the enthusiasm and simple perspective of a kid who looks to be between 6 and 9 years old, the book is packed with solid art history and biographical information about the artist and his work, as well as black-and-white archival photos of Monet, color photos of his gardens, pond, Japanese Bridge, and water lillies, full-color reproductions and details of several Monet paintings, and appealing watercolor illustrations of Linnea and Mr. Bloom soaking it all in.
Is it any good?
Linnea in Monet's Garden would be a great addition to any kid's library. It conveys what's exciting -- to a kid -- about art, history, and travel, and does an amazingly good job of explaining in simple, kid-friendly terms Monet's technique, passion, and place in art history. Given its lengthy text, the book may be best for reading aloud to younger kids. But it's a lively, highly informative read for adults, as well.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Monet's art (and Impressionism in general) is different from traditional representational art. Could you paint a picture of a landscape by just dabbing blobs and blotches of color?
Do you find it hard to describe art? Do you think Linnea does a good job of it?
Have you ever visited an art museum? Does reading Linnea in Monet's Garden make you want to?
- Authors: Christina Bjork, Lena Anderson
- Illustrator: Lena Anderson
- Genre: Arts
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, History, Science and Nature, Trains
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Sourcebooks
- Publication date: October 2, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 4 - 8
- Number of pages: 48
- Available on: Hardback
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.