Cezanne and the Apple Boy

Cezanne and the Apple Boy by Laurence Anholt

Paul had not seen his father for some time and then he got a letter inviting him to join his father in the countryside of Provence.  Paul took a train all alone and found his father partway up a mountain painting.  Paul had the same name as his father, Paul Cezanne.  When Paul found his father, he was alarmed because his father was so big, so wild looking.  But his soft voice spoke quietly to Paul, though his father would not shake hands because he hated touching other people.  The two traveled together, drawing and painting the countryside, but no one was interested in Cezanne’s new style of painting.  Until one day they met an art dealer who took all of the paintings off to his gallery.  Just as Paul and his father were running out of money, the art dealer returned with funds from selling the paintings and encouraged Cezanne to create more. 

This is a book that celebrates so many things all at once.  It celebrates the connection of father and son, the undoubting love of a child and their faith in their parent.  It celebrates Cezanne himself and his art.  It celebrates the countryside of Provence.  And it celebrates determinedly following your passion and gift even when the rest of the world doesn’t understand.  It’s a lot for a picture book to carry, but this book does it very well and with apparent ease.

Anholt has written a well-rounded and complete story from a summer in Cezanne’s life.  Though the story, he reveals the art of Cezanne, mimicking the Cezanne style in his own depictions of the Provence landscape. The illustrations are a pleasure as they reveal so much of the story told in the text as well as the story of the art itself.

This book will work well for elementary art classes studying Cezanne.  In fact, most children will want to see Cezanne’s work after reading this glimpse of a fascinating painter and his son.  Appropriate for ages 4-7.

Reviewed from library copy.

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