Joan Shaddox Isom The First Starry Night

ISBN 13: 9781580890274

The First Starry Night

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Set during van Gogh's time in Arles, France, this story tells of van Gogh's friendship with a young boy, Jacques, who lives in the same house. As van Gogh teaches Jacques a new way to look at the world around him, the two become fast friends, even brothers. When van Gogh finally leaves Arles, he leaves behind some paintings; but more than paintings, he leaves memories which will last the young boy a lifetime.

Illustrated with paintings done in the impressionist style, THE FIRST STARRY NIGHT is a beautiful introduction to van Gogh's work as well as a moving story about the true meaning of friendship and brotherhood.

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About the Author:

Joan Shaddox Isom began writing and painting at the age of six. Her interest in the arts has led her to write and direct fine art programs for young people, work as an artist/writer in the schools, and teach creative writing at the university level. She has worked in children's theater as a director and producer, and has had several of her plays published and performed. She has a B.A. in education from the University of Central Oklahoma and an M.F.A. from the University of Arkansas. Her work appears in numerous literary magazines and anthologies, and her paintings have won prizes in the U.S.A. and in Europe.

From School Library Journal:

K-Gr 3--Jacques, an orphaned potwasher in Arles, makes friends with the artist-lodger Vincent. The painter's odd ways have made him feared by the villagers, but his kindness toward a cat endears him to Jacques. Their friendship grows, and Vincent begins to explain what and how he sees. To the lonely boy he becomes a "brother of the heart." Jacques hopes for Vincent's success, but only one painting sells. The man departs, but he has left paintings in lieu of payment and arranged for Jacques to go to school. The boy's favorite painting--The Starry Night--patches the ceiling above his bed and, looking at it, he realizes that his lost friend "is not lost at all." This simple story is illustrated by page after page of Van Gogh-like paintings. Although none is actually a copy of any particular work, recognizable elements of the artist's style--impasto, haloes, discrete brushstrokes--distinguish them all. The subject matter is also familiar: cornfield, snow, sunflower, narrow red bed, flowering trees, rustic chair, etc. The intense palette of reds, oranges, blues, and purples also echoes the master. Purists may argue that near-Van Gogh is no substitute for the real thing, but this appealing book could introduce the techniques and themes of the impressionists in a pleasantly accessible way.

Patricia Lothrop-Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI

Copyright 1998 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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