CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 16 . . . . December 16, 2011
This animated story is about the strength and power of visual art to inspire people. It is in Van Gogh's style of painting that the story animation appears. Young fans of Van Gogh ultimately will be delighted to see how the images actually remind them of his most famous paintings.
This gentle story shows Van Gogh befriending the daughter of a doctor he consults. She is not fond of her freckles but notices he has freckles, too. Her appreciation of the beauty in his art is apparent, and she wants to be a painter when she grows up.
The film shows the girl's mother very ill with pneumonia. As the almond blossoms fall, she counts down as the few remaining flowers drop from the tree at her window. One blossom remains, however. It is the child who realizes that it was actually painted there by Van Gogh. Almond blossoms are the subject of one of his masterpieces. The mother recovers her health and compares her strength to that of the surviving flower.
The restful music that we hear is occasionally more dynamic, in keeping with a change in Van Gogh's art. With art supplies at hand, a primary class of students could attempt to paint pictures in the styles of Van Gogh. A teacher might then display some photographs of Van Gogh's own work.
It is recommended in the teacher's notes that O. Henry’s story, “The Last Leaf,” be used with the film. I would not do this. The animated film is the perfect length to show twice during an art class.
Cathy Vincent-Linderoos, an aunt to 10 young people, aged seven through 21, is a retired elementary teacher.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.