Literary Vacation - Linnea in Monet’s Garden
What Is A Literary Vacation?
A literary vacation is a great way to take a beloved tale and bring it to life through travel. Literary vacations can be a great grown up getaway or a fun educational experience for children.
The Book: Linnea in Monet’s Garden (1985)
By: Christina Bjork
The Location: Paris and Giverny, France
Age Group: Families with children ages 8-12
Linnea in Monet’s Garden is a story about a little girl, Linnea, who loves Impressionist art work, especially Claude Monet. Reading her story will help prepare any child headed for a French vacation. A child that might find an afternoon in the Louvre dull will look at it with new eyes if they bring along Linnea and try to spot the Impressionist art in the museum.
Linnea is in a series of books by the same author but it is the one about Monet’s Garden that has gained popularity in the United States. She is a child of nine or so and she loves gardens and flowers, just like Monet and just like her neighbor, the elderly Mr. Bloom. The two decide to take a trip to Paris and Giverny together to see the home and art work of the Impressionist painter, Everything she sees in France is new and exciting to Linnea just as it would be for any child on their first trip to Paris. The fancy poodles, famous art, and even the variety of cheese is sure to delight. The set backs that the two travelers are faced with are met with adaptability and cheerfulness which is a good reminder to children's and grownups alike to take things in stride and enjoy the journey.
This book is a wonderful way to introduce children to art in a way that is on their level and with attract them. As Mr. Bloom tells Linnea and the reader about the art he does it in a manner that is easily understood by an adolescent. Mr. Bloom tells of how Monet often grew frustrated with his art and trashed it or took it out in the garden and burned it. As adults we cringe at all of the fine art the was probably destroyed but that doesn’t cross the mind of a child. Rather they can identify because it is something many children struggle with and to know that someone as good and famous as Monet had the same problem is reassuring to them.
Toy's and Games
In his home in Giverny, outside of Paris, Claude Monet lived with his wife, and his eight children and step children. Here he created an elaborate garden with a pond and a Japanese bridge. It was here that he painted his famous water lilies and lived out his life. It is now a museum complete with tourists and a gift shop but still you can get the feel of Monet’s home life. With the length of the kitchen table it’s impossible to forget that the artist had eight children underfoot as he painted some of the most recognizable art there is.
After a tour through the home head out to the garden and spend some time marveling over the water lilies and standing atop the bridge as Linnea did. Find a quite place deep in the garden where there are a few less tourists and spend some time resting and taking in the atmosphere that inspired great art as your children spend a bit of time exploring the creek that Monet’s children fished in 150 years ago. Spend some time imagining what it would have been like to live there in Monet’s day and grow up with seven brothers and sisters.
Before you make it out to Giverny and the home of Monet, like Linnea and Mr. Bloom your first stop will be Paris. (Most likely because that’s where the airport is) Check in to a small Parisian Hotel. You can even stay in the same one as Linnea if you would like, the Esmerelda in the Fifth Arrondissement. Then head out to see the art. You could go to the Louvre but if it’s Monet you want to see head over to Marmottan, a museum just for the works of Claude Monet and the people he painted alongside. Spend some time lingering of the Monet, a few Renoir and perhaps a Degas or two before lunch. Then if your children are up for a second museum you can make like Linnea and go to the Musee d’Orsay. But then it was to crowded for Linnea and Mr. Bloom and they decided not to wait in line. After your day exploring Pairs make sure everyone gets a good nights sleep before the day trip to Giverny.