A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Monet in Linnea's Garden conveys a kid's excitement about art, and may serve to trigger an interest in art in its readers. It includes extensive biographical information about 19th century French artist Claude Monet and his family, facts about his career, techniques, the Impressionist movement in art history, a description of Monet's home and gardens, mentions of the Paris art museums the Marmottan, the Musée d'Orsay, and the Orangerie, various Parisian settings, including the Ile de la Cité, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Hotel Esmeralda, the train station Gare Saint-Lazarre, numerous individual Monet paintings and their titles, some French vocabulary, including baguette and paté.
The main message is that art is captivating to look at and a compelling passion for the artist. There's also an implicit message to thoroughly investigate anything that sparks your interest -- reading books to get more information and visiting museums and historical sites to see and learn more. The book also conveys the joy of travel and that learning about history -- and art history-- is fun.
Positive Role Models
Linnea is a curious, exuberant kid who loves learning about art, Monet, and Paris, and is an excellent tour guide and storyteller for readers. She explains everything in simple language a kids can understand. And the is appreciative and respectful of her traveling companion, Mr. Bloom.
Violence & Scariness
Some historical deaths are mentioned.
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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.
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.
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