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Michael Rubbo
Translated by Viviane Julien
Montreal, Editions Quebec/ Amerique, 1990. 210pp, paper, $6.95, ISBN 2-89037-520-X. (Collection litterature jeunesse). (Contes pour tous, 11). CIP

Grades 7 to 10/Ages 12 to 15

Reviewed by Patricia J. Cooper.

Volume 19 Number 4
1991 September

After studying film in California, Australian-born Michael Rubbo moved to Montreal to work for the National Film Board of Canada. As a producer and author he has brought us Operation Peanut Butter (Operation beurre de pinottes) and Tommy Tricker and the Stamp Travellers (Les Aventuriers du timbre perdu).

Vincent et moi is Rubbo's third novel, adapted from his film of the same name and translated into French by Viviane Julien, author of five novels in the collection.

Vincent is Vincent Van Gogh. He is Jo's hero and her source of inspiration. A talented artist herself, Jo is attending art school on a scholarship when a mysterious European art dealer asks her to do some sketches a la Van Gogh. When it is later reported in a Dutch magazine that a long-lost Van Gogh drawing has been found in Amsterdam and has been bought by a Japanese businessman for a million dollars, Jo recognizes the drawing as hers. She alone can expose the fraud. Jo and her friend Felix soon find themselves embroiled in an international art fraud conspiracy masterminded by some very nasty characters.

Although the plot is slow to develop, the action picks up excitement and speed once Jo and Felix set off for Europe. This novel will appeal to older children who don't mind a slower-paced story, and especially to those who are interested in art. It offers the opportunity to discuss art and artists, art theft, fraud, the ethics of copying, lying, and so on.

Lots of dialogue, large, easy-to-read print, and short chapters illustrated by photos from the film make Vincent et moi a good choice for Immersion classes with or without the film. The fact that there is a film/video available to use increases its appeal.


Patricia J. Cooper, Brampton Public Library, Brampton, Ont
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