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Mr. Gauguin's Heart

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  43 ratings  ·  11 reviews
Based on a true story, Mr. Gauguins Heart is about the birth of imagination and the solace of art. Young Paul Gauguin sailed from Denmark to Peru with his family: his mother, his father, his sister, Marie, and his odd-looking, imaginary orange dog. At first being on the boat was fun; he loved to walk his dog on the ships bridge. Then one day, Paul found his mother in ...more
Hardcover, 24 pages
Published September 11th 2007 by Tundra Books (first published November 17th 2004)
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May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: (With Proviso) Those Seeking Children's Stories About Death, Grief & Art
French-Canadian author/illustrator team Marie-Danielle Croteau and Isabelle Arsenault craft an imaginative tale about the artist Paul Gauguin in this lovely picture-book. Following the Gauguin family as they sail for Peru, the narrative depicts Paul as an imaginative young boy with an invisible orange dog for a friend. The adults around him indulge Paul, when it comes to this imaginary canine companion, but when Mr. Gauguin dies of a heart attack on the sea voyage, the boy's ability to see ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Croteau, Marie-Danielle Mr. Gauguin's Heart, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault; translated by Susan Ouriou. PICTURE BOOK Tundra, 2007.

Paul Gauguin's father died during the family's journey from Denmark to Peru. In explanation his mother tells young Paul that it was his heart that took him away. In Peru, an older man teaches Paul the skills he needs to express his feelings on canvas, where he makes his first great painting of what may look like a big read ball, but is really his father's heart.
Cheriee Weichel
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This introduction to Paul Gauguin informs us readers how he became an artist. It's full of whimsy, sadness, and beauty. Isabelle Arsenault's art is perfect with Marie-Danielle Croteau's somewhat lengthy text. Based on real life, this would make an ideal starting point for learning more about this famous painter. I want to know who the old man who taught him to paint was!
Emmanuelle Gutiérrez
I was very impressed that the author was inspired by the episode of the loss of her father during the trip to Peru of the Gauguin family. The story is tender and may help those who have gone through that trance. On the other hand it seemed exaggeratedly brief.
Feb 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
While I liked the story very much, it felt rather flat. The characters didn't seem real until the man on the ship helped Paul learn to paint. The illustrations were wonderful.

When young Paul Gaugin (yes, the famous painter) is on an ocean voyage with his family, his father dies suddenly. His mother does a poor job of explaining the death to Paul, who watches a red balloon float away and thinks it is his father's heart. A few weeks later he meets a man painting pictures in the park. The man encourages Paul to paint, and Paul paints a giant red dot. Despite what others think, Paul knows he has painted his father's heart.

I told you it was odd. I'm not sure what the
This lovely, quiet book may mean the world to an imaginative kid, especially one struggling with loss. Paul Gauguin's father dies when Paul is still young enough to have an imaginary dog. Paul is fortunate enough to meet an artist who shows him that "'painting is can bring things to life... or prolong the life they had." Paul paints a beautiful red sun, which for him is his father's heart that carried him away.
The Styling Librarian
Mr. Gauguins Heart by Marie-Danielle Croteau, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault, translated by Susan Ouriou - 3/4th grade and up -beautiful touching way to approach the topic of death with a child but also touching for seeing the development of art and creativity in Paul Gauguin. Brilliant book, gorgeous illustrations. ...more
Dec 30, 2013 rated it liked it
It took me a whole two seconds to find out that the book could hardly be called historical or factual. Gauguin's father died when he was 18 months old, and (from what I could find) the family was definitely not Danish - though I could be wrong there. Made me much more disappointed in the book after learning that.
Apr 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009, picturebooks
The full five stars are for the illustrations, which are magnificent. The text itself was not as satisfying, but it was a very cool book nonetheless.
Sparked my interest in the artist, Gauguin.
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