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The Collector of Moments Hardcover – October 20, 1999


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 800L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st American ed edition (October 20, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374315205
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374315207
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 9.8 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,280,908 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Like its opening image of a seagull suspended at twilight and painted in sepia tones, this extraordinary volume honors the beauty inherent in a singular momentary experience. "At dusk, when he couldn't draw anymore, Max used to sing," begins Buch-olz's (Sleep Well, Little Bear) poignant tale of an unusual friendship. Max is a painter, the self-proclaimed "collector of moments." The narrator, a boy, lives two floors down and plays the violin. At Max's invitation, he joins the artist every evening for an intimate concert. The boy often visits at other times, but the artist never permits the boy to view his work: "One invisible and unique path leads into every picture... and the artist has to find just that one path. He can't show the picture too soon, or he might lose that path forever," Max explains. But when Max goes away for a stretch, both boy and readers are invited for a private showing of 13 breathtaking paintings. Many of the subjects are mythical: "Snow elephants in Canada" nearly invisible against blizzard-filled skies, a circus wagon floating above a bridge in France. Others, like Max's self-portrait, are realistic. But all the paintings, with their wide expanse of space, suggest a vast universe; in the words of the narrator, "Max always captured a precise moment. But I understood that there was always a story attached to this moment which had begun long before and would continue long afterward." The boy pores over each picture and instructs readers by his power of example. Only near the end of the book does the boy learn how much he has meant to Max--and his realization is transformative. With the same exquisite crafting that Bucholz exhibits in his paintings, he sculpts each section of prose--aided greatly by Neumeyer's fluid translation. Whether young or old, readers will never view a work of art in the same way again. All ages. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-6-Evocative is the word here. Despite a lengthy text, there is no plot in this oversized illustrated book. The narrator, a boy nicknamed "Professor," tells of the time that an artist, Max, lived in the flat above his. The boy, a loner, reads while Max draws, and plays his violin while the artist sings. When the man leaves for a while, Professor is allowed for the first time to see his enigmatic pictures. Through the summer the boy explores their possible meanings. The artist returns only to announce a move far away; later, a picture of Professor arrives with Max's assurance that the boy's music continues to inhabit his work. The clear, meticulous, full-page paintings are suffused with calm. In most, an odd element is obvious but not intrusive: a circus wagon floating in air at the edge of the frame, penguins in the street, a lion in a boat, or a horse atop a lighthouse. In others, there is a striking disproportion: Is that boy a Goliath, or is the boy with him a Tom Thumb? Although Max says that "one invisible and unique path leads into every picture," these collected moments appear to have infinite points of entry and egress. Against the muted, atmospheric backgrounds, an occasional touch of crimson glows as mysteriously as this book.
Patricia Lothrop-Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is my favorite contemporary children's book. The story is touching and the illustrations are magical. The wonderful thing is that this is not merely a children's book, but lovely for all ages. I recommend it for gifts to people that you love - at any age!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
In �The Collector of Moments� Mr. Buchholz has written a soft, gentle story of childhood. The main character is an unnamed young boy who is a bit of a loner. He�s picked on by his classmates for being overweight and his out-of-style wire rimmed glasses. But, when he plays the violin, his friend Max, who rents out the third floor of the family�s home, calls him �Professor� and always listens and usually sings along with him.
Max is a painter, but a quiet and somewhat mysterious one. He never shows anyone his paintings before they are completely finished, and he later comments that sometimes there are things in his paintings that even HE doesn�t see or know about. The boy loves to sit in a red chair in Max�s room and simply watch him work, even though he doesn�t know what Max is working on until he�s finished.
Max makes frequent trips out of town in which his studio is locked up and the boy has to wait for Max�s return. When Max returns, he has fantastic stories to tell the boy about the things he�s seen, like Canadian Snow Elephants that only appear out of the forest during heavy snowfalls. They are actually larger than African elephants, but are so very rarely seen because of their white coloring and gentle, quiet ways of walking. They boy, who narrates the story, is pretty sure that these stories are just fantastic tales of the imagination, but Max tells them so convincingly that there is a part of the boy that comes to believe in the stories somewhat. When the painter goes on an extended vacation/trip, he leaves all of his paintings out for the boy to look at, as a sort of personal exhibition for one.
Here�s where the story becomes odd and wonderful: in each painting there is something odd or unusual is happening, most of which seem to be drawn from Max�s story.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By J.L. Moss on March 31, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is perhaps the most compelling children's book I have ever seen. Though a bit surreal, it has all of the components of a great chldren's book. It's creative, fanciful and touching without being condescending to its youthful readers. What a lovely story of art and friendship.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I chose this book from our local library primarily because I found the title intriguing. I read it to my 6 year old daughter that night and we both loved it. It's a beautiful story and a wonderful way to teach children how each person must find his or her own meaning in great art. I am purchasing several copies - one to keep and others for gifts.
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