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The Fantastic Journey of Pieter Bruegel Hardcover – June 3, 2002

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Based on imagined events during Bruegel's real-life two-year journey through mid 16th-century France and Italy, newcomer Shafer's luminous watercolor and pencil illustrations spill across the large-scale format with the vivacious humanity characteristic of the great Northern Renaissance painter. As in Bruegel's work, the pictorial settings surrounding the young artist are rich with dramas large and small. The narrative, conveyed through chatty diary entries, tells of thieving boys in the Alps and Ottoman soldiers battling in Reggio. Shafer thus drives home the idea that Bruegel lived and traveled among real people with all their frailties and foibles, characters and ideas that would continue to inform his work. Together, text and illustrations create a portrait of a place and time complete with the plague and the pope's private zoo as well as an introduction to an artist whose work and themes are highly accessible to children. Unfortunately, the 16 paintings and drawings by Bruegel, reproduced as a kind of postscript, are too small to do justice to the artist's genius; one double-page spread of The Wedding Banquet, for instance, would have conveyed Bruegel's magic more effectively than the miniatures assembled here. A lengthy author's note with considerable historical background rounds out this visually appealing evocation of the man behind the art. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-6-An inviting illustrated chronicle of Bruegel's trip from Antwerp to Rome in the 16th century. The lively fictional diary entries report exciting events and provide a sense of the difficult times in which he lived. In the course of his journey, he encounters a Huguenot carrying straw for his own fiery execution, people suffering from a plague, a sea battle at Reggio, and even the smells of poverty. Very little is known about the subject's life, so Shafer imaginatively reconstructs the journey from the sometimes conflicting accounts that exist and from the artist's paintings and drawings. The use of the first person adds immediacy. Some entries have themes directly related to Bruegel's paintings, such as The Alchemist, The Beekeepers, and, perhaps his most famous image, The Hunters in the Snow. Shafer's watercolor-and-pencil illustrations perfectly capture the events of the engaging narrative. The biggest disappointment is the lack of source notes. Despite a detailed note that explains the lack of documentation about the painter's life, Shafer only refers to "my sources" and does not provide a bibliography. Otherwise, this is an appealing introduction to the painter, to the tradition of the artistic pilgrimage, and 16th-century life in general.
Robin L. Gibson, Perry County District Library, New Lexington, OH
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Juvenile; 1st edition (June 3, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525469869
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525469865
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 0.4 x 12.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #959,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Roz Levine on November 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover
"...Master Hieronymous Cock, of the Shop of the Four Winds, is pressing me to make a trip south to the great city of Rome. He intends that I shall draw as I go and then study the arts and ancient ruins there. "The prints we make from the drawings you bring back will travel to the four corners of the world," he says..." So begins Anders C. Shafer's intriguing story of the two year pilgrimage painter and draftsman, Pieter Bruegel, took from his home in Antwerp, over the Alps, and south to Rome. Using what little is known about Bruegel, from the writings of his contemporaries and his art, Mr Shafer imagines a fantastic journey, filled with history, drama, humor, and art. His clever text, written as eloquent diary entries, is engaging, and complemented by evocative illustrations. Together word and art draws the reader in, transports you back to the mid-sixteenth century, and paints a marvelously entertaining portrait of the man and his times. Mr Shafer includes an informative Author's Note, to augment and enhance the narrative, and an "art gallery", with enlightening commentary, of some of Pieter Bruegel's paintings. Perfect for youngsters 8-12, The Fantastic Journey Of Pieter Bruegel is an inspiring introductory biography that is sure to whet the appetite, and send kids out looking for more.
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Format: Hardcover
Author Anders C. Shafer did a fantastic job describing the journey of artist Pieter Bruegel from his home in Antwerp to Rome in the 1550’s. For a picture book this is a rather lengthy read; educators may wish to break up it into two sessions if sharing with a group of students. What I love most about this story is how the passion and inspiration that Shafer felt for Bruegel’s work is conveyed beautifully on each page. The illustrations are stunning and he infused much of Bruegel’s art with them.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A delightful book, great story and even better illustrations. This book is out of publication, but a new publishing house should pick it up or Dutton should republish it and make it more available for children as well as adults
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By Jill on February 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My only regret is that this was a prior library book so I will have to buy another one this time a new one...creative and instructive for all ages by a fantastic artist...jk
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By C R L on December 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
charming illustration and "accurate" content, great introduction to the inner journey of Bruegel as he makes an actual journey and gently introduces the reader/viewer to the inner content of his painting style without getting too complicated
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