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Colorful Dreamer: The Story of Artist Henri Matisse Hardcover – November 8, 2012
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*Starred Review* This inspiring picture book about the life of Henri Matisse weaves back and forth between Henri’s dreary reality—rendered in pencil shades of black, white, and gray—and the vivid world of his imagination, depicted in gorgeous full-color pencil, paint, and collage. Much to Henri’s parents’ dismay, their son does not excel at school, working in the family store, or the violin; instead, he is a dreamer. During his blah stint as a young lawyer, Henri starts to suffer stomach pains and ends up in the hospital, where he has plenty of time and nothing to do. But a set of paints changes all that: he picked up the paintbrush and was transported into paradise. From here, the book really sings as we’re treated to Henri’s vivid inner life made real on canvas. Parker’s lyrical text is accessible to young children and offers a rich look at the artist’s life, but it’s Berry’s art that wows. She manages to capture the vibrancy and rich saturation of Matisse’s original paintings and then changes styles to reflect his later-in-life colored-paper cutouts, which he referred to as drawing with scissors. An endnote fills in details about Matisse’s life. A great introduction to the renowned artist and a validation of dreamers everywhere. Grades K-3. --Ann Kelley
About the Author
Marjorie Blain Parker lives in Denver, Colorado.
Holly Berry lives in Waldoboro, Maine.
Top customer reviews
This picture book is by no means a thorough biography of Henri Matisse but it provides enough background to how Matisse found his passion and pursued art as a career, a path that is portrayed to have been emotionally satisfying and fulfilling. It is an inspiring story because it teaches both young and old that it is never too late to find one's calling. The vivid color illustrations add depth to Matisse's story. I'd also recommend:
Matisse the King of Color (Anholt's Artists Books for Children Series)
A Magical Day with Matisse (Mini Masters)
A Bird or Two: A Story About Henri Matisse