Monet Paints a Day book cover image

Monet Paints a Day

  • 1595

By: Julie Danneberg / Illustrated by: Caitlin Heimerl

A study of an artistic movement—and the artist who helped to define it.

In November 1885, impressionist painter Claude Monet vacationed in Étretat, France, where he spent his days outside, painting scenes of the seaside village. One morning he rose early and carried all of his supplies and half-finished paintings out to the cliffs and rocky beach, finally stopping to paint the arch called Manneporte. Eager to capture the scene before him, and aware that he must work quickly to catch the light, Monet became so engrossed in his work that he forgot to watch the incoming tide.

Based on a true incident, Monet Paints a Day introduces readers to the life and nature of this illustrious impressionist. Interspersed throughout the story are excerpts from the painter’s notes and letters, while a second layer of text and back matter includes information about Impressionism as a whole. Lush watercolor illustrations in the Impressionist style give readers a visual for this artistic movement. A bibliography is also included.

Look Inside the Book:

Author & Illustrator Bios:

Julie Danneberg, author

"As a kid, when I daydreamed or played at being grown-up, I never imagined myself as a writer. Instead I dreamed of being a famous girl reporter, a secret agent, and a teacher." With an imagination like that, it's hard to believe that Colorado native Julie Danneberg never considered a career as a writer.

After graduating from the University of Colorado, Boulder, Julie became a teacher. In her classroom, she read many children's books, and witnessed the profound impact a good book can have on a child. "I was motivated to try and write books like the ones I enjoy reading."

Read more about Julie.

Caitlin Heimerl, illustrator

Caitlin Heimerl was born in southern California and had a blissfully happy childhood full of adventure in the Santa Monica Mountains and the waves of the Pacific Ocean. Her family moved to St. Louis, Missouri for her middle and high school years and she soon learned to love the Midwest. As a high school student, Caitlin discovered a real love for painting. During her senior year, she illustrated a silly story about her German shepherd, Dakota, and that was it for her...she was hooked on making books.

Read more about Caitlin.

Awards & Honors:

  • Storytelling World Award honor book
  • Charlotte Zolotow Award Highly Commended
  • CCBC Choices 2013

Editorial Reviews:

Kirkus Reviews

An engaging and well-researched picture book written in the voice of the artist and drawn from the letters of the noted French Impressionist Claude Monet.

In the late autumn of 1885, Monet sojourned at the coastal resort of Étretat in Normandy. Each morning Monet and village children transported his canvases, easel, paints, brushes and more to the motif he had elected to paint. One day, so absorbed in painting as much as he could within a seven- to 15-minute window-his calculation for the time it took before the light changed-Monet was actually swept away by a high tide, supplies and all. Monet struggled and fought his way to the surface and then ruefully resolved to carefully consult the tides tables from then on. Danneberg, known for picture books and early-grade fiction, does a fine job here, effectively integrating details from Monet's letters and minifacts about Impressionism and the exciting practice of plein-air painting. First-time illustrator Heimerl contributes some sensitively rendered watercolors. Though adept at small still lifes and landscapes, she often struggles with the figure and once awkwardly depicts the daubs of paint on Monet's palette as scoops of brightly hued sorbet-like blobs. Rookie mistakes notwithstanding, this is an engaging collaboration. The backmatter is particularly clear and wonderfully informative-including details on Monet's life, the theories that fueled the Impressionist movement, and the innovations in art materials that facilitated their work.

Young art lovers will appreciate this appealing glimpse into the life and work of Monet.

School Library Journal

In this captivating story, Claude Monet writes a letter to his fiancée, Alice. He has traveled to Étretat, a seaside resort overlooking the English Channel, where he has an adventure on the rocky shore while painting the imposing stone arch, Manneporte. Hurrying to capture the scene on his canvas before the light changes, he pays little attention to the tide. Suddenly, a giant wave rains water down on him and he is knocked off his feet. The sea swallows him and he tumbles "like a shell against the bottom of the ocean." Finally, he lands back on the beach, where he gasps for breath, but his painting, easel, and stool have been lost. Bowing to the power of nature, he trudges back to the hotel "where dry clothes, a warm fire and a soothing cup of tea await." Undaunted, he resolves to "be back again tomorrow." Danneberg captures this brief moment in the French artist's life. Her careful word choices ("swirls," "shimmering," "ruffle," "dab," "glittering") mirror Monet's artistic style, and the images she paints are as lovely as Heimerl's watercolors. The impressionistic illustrations illuminate the first-person narrative, re-creating Monet's day at the beach in a palette of delicate pastels. The text is supplemented by factual notes on each page, as well as appended notes about Monet's career and painting technique. Pair this title with Christina Bjork's Linnea in Monet's Garden (R & S Bks., 1987).


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ISBN: 978-1-58089-240-7

E-book PDF
ISBN: 978-1-60734-454-4
For information about purchasing E-books, click here.

Ages: 6-9
Page count: 32
10 x 8

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