cover image Vincent Can’t Sleep: Van Gogh Paints the Night Sky

Vincent Can’t Sleep: Van Gogh Paints the Night Sky

Barb Rosenstock, illus. by Mary GrandPré. Knopf, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-101-93710-5

Vincent Van Gogh’s persistent insomnia is the frame through which Rosenstock and GrandPré (the team behind The Noisy Paintbox, about Wassily Kandinsky) examine his growth as an artist. Rosenstock’s hushed, lyrical writing shapes a vision of a solitary, poorly understood artist struggling with inner demons (“Flashing brushstrokes capture country cottages at dusk, city cafés at midnight, canvas after canvas like radiant chapters in a book only Vincent can read”). There’s a moodiness and unease apparent in GrandPré’s artwork, too: when Van Gogh finishes Starry Night, “strange and restless, like Vincent himself,” its swirling lines bleed off of the canvas and into the surrounding darkened room. A thoughtful author’s note closes out this moving study of Van Gogh’s fraught efforts to translate his ideas to canvas. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Oct.) [/em]