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

by Barb Rosenstock (Author) Mary Grandpre (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

A gorgeous, lyrical picture-book biography of Vincent van Gogh by the Caldecott Honor team behind The Noisy Paint Box.

Vincent can't sleep . . .

out, out, out he runs!

flying through the garden--marigold, geranium, blackberry, raspberry--

past the church with its tall steeple, down rolling hills and sandy paths meant for sheep,

He dives at last into the velvety, violet heath, snuggles under a blanket of sapphire sky, and looks up, up, up . . . to visit with the stars.

Vincent van Gogh often found himself unable to sleep and wandered under starlit skies. Those nighttime experiences provided the inspiration for many of his paintings, including his most famous, The Starry Night. Van Gogh sold only one painting in his lifetime--but he continued to pursue his unique vision, and ultimately became one of the most beloved artists of all time.

From the same team behind the Caldecott Honor Book The Noisy Paint Box, Vincent Can't Sleep is a stunning book that offers insight into the true meaning of creativity and commitment.

Praise for The Noisy Paint Box:

"Even those who aren't inspired to visit a museum will take away the lesson of Kandinsky's life: Listen to what excites you and follow its call." --The New York Times

* "Rosenstock's prose strikes a balance between lightheartedness and lyricism. GrandPré's paintings conjure up an entire epoch . . . breathing life into all the characters." --Publishers Weekly, starred

* "The rich word choice is a delight: pistachio, cobalt, and saffron introduce readers to colors while hissing, blaring, and whispering reveal the sounds of the colors. . . . This is a beautiful blend of colors, music, and life." --Booklist, starred

* "A rich, accomplished piece about a pioneer in the art world." --Kirkus Reviews, starred

* "The book offers diverse potential for different types of study, whether one is reading for information or for pleasure. Outstanding." --School Library Journal, starred


School Library Journal

K-Gr 2--Long before Vincent van Gogh became a famous painter, he was young boy who couldn't sleep. He dreamt restlessly of escaping the confines of his life in boarding schools and bustling business centers, eagerly searching to find his passion and bring light to a harsh and unforgiving world. As a child, he wandered under the shimmering skies of his hometown, nestling in gardens and meadows and observing the intensity of the night sky. As a student, van Gogh was bored with his schoolwork and spent most of his time reading, writing, and dreaming alone. As an adult, he called himself an artist and set out on his own--teaching, writing, traveling--much to the dislike of his family. After he completes his masterpiece The Starry Night, his life's purpose is found and he can sleep peacefully at last. Captivating bursts of color are matched with rich vocabulary, capturing van Gogh's bold and unique interpretation of the world. The book's lyrical text paired with dazzling, expressive reiterations of van Gogh's most famous creations will enchant readers who long to discover their own artistic voice. VERDICT This versatile book is both an outstanding choice for reading aloud or for introducing art history concepts to young audiences.--Natalie Romano, Denver Public Library

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

Vincent Van Gogh's persistent insomnia is the frame through which Rosenstock and GrandPre (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 cafes at midnight, canvas after canvas like radiant chapters in a book only Vincent can read"). There's a moodiness and unease apparent in GrandPre'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. Author's agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Oct.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

A beautiful exploration of van Gogh's influences and achievement. —Booklist, starred review

A soft, sad, lovely introduction to a masterpiece. —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Praise for The Noisy Paint Box:

"Even those who aren't inspired to visit a museum will take away the lesson of Kandinsky's life: Listen to what excites you and follow its call." —The New York Times

* "Rosenstock's prose strikes a balance between lightheartedness and lyricism. GrandPré's paintings conjure up an entire epoch . . . breathing life into all the characters." —Publishers Weekly, starred

* "The rich word choice is a delight: pistachio, cobalt, and saffron introduce readers to colors while hissing, blaring, and whispering reveal the sounds of the colors. . . . This is a beautiful blend of colors, music, and life." —Booklist, starred

* "A rich, accomplished piece about a pioneer in the art world." —Kirkus Reviews, starred

* "The book offers diverse potential for different types of study, whether one is reading for information or for pleasure. Outstanding." —School Library Journal, starred
Barb Rosenstock
BARB ROSENSTOCK is the author of the Caldecott Honor Book The Noisy Paint Box; Vincent Can't Sleep; Through the Window; and Mornings with Monet, all also illustrated by Mary GrandPré, as well as many other books. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband, sons, and two big poodles. Visit her at BarbRosenstock.com.

ERIKA MEZA is the illustrator of Salsa Lullaby by Jen Arena. She was born in Morelia, in the Mexican state where monarch butterflies go for the winter. She grew up in awe of the phenomenon, and carried the image of the butterfly as a piece of home when she moved to Paris to follow her dream of becoming an author and illustrator. Her themes are born out of the exploration of her migrant essence, her bittersweet relationship with change, and her attachment to innocence and curiosity. She now lives in London. Learn more about Erika at ErikaMeza.com or on Twitter at @ErikaDraws.
Classification
Non-fiction
ISBN-13
9781101937105
Lexile Measure
790L
Guided Reading Level
N/A
Publisher
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication date
October 20, 2017
Series
-

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!