cover image Mornings with Monet

Mornings with Monet

Barb Rosenstock, illus. by Mary GrandPré. Knopf, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-525-70817-9

The idiosyncratic painting practice of Claude Monet (1840–1926) foregrounds this engrossing picture book biography by the previous collaborators (The Noisy Paint Box). As Rosenstock deftly describes Monet’s working day—waking at 3:30 a.m., being rowed on the Seine to “a flat-bottomed punt,” his studio boat—she adds daubs of biographical detail: the gardens at Giverny, Monet’s youth leading “a band of rebel artists... Renoir, Degas, Pissarro, Sisley, Morisot.” Descriptions of his process illuminate and shine alongside GrandPré’s acrylic paint and ink illustrations: readers peer over Monet’s shoulder as he works his way through 14 canvases, each for only as many minutes as it “matches what he sees,” capturing “a series of transparencies: water, air, and memory.” At times, Rosenstock’s luminous language offers gentle humor (“Monet wipes his brow; it is not easy to paint air”) as GrandPré’s glowing dabs of color and visible brushstrokes offer a soft, legible introduction to the style of Monet’s radical works. Ages 4–8. [em](Mar.) [/em]