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Matisse's Garden Hardcover – October 7, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—Seemingly on a whim one day, artist Henri Matisse cut a bird out of white paper, pinned it on his wall, and created a brand-new art form. Eight of his cut-paper works, some appearing as gatefolds, are reproduced in this charming, kid-friendly informational picture book that briefly describes how Matisse began working in his new style and how it and he soared as a result. Amodeo fully captures Matisse's inventive joy with her cut-paper illustrations, which work beautifully with the text and pop from the pages with brilliant, vivid colors, and kinetic energy. In a whimsical spread, the illustrator depicts the man flying to demonstrate how unfettered he felt as his scissors glided effortlessly through paper. Having started with white paper, Matisse eventually asked his assistants to paint paper against which to set his ever-larger cutouts that culminated in a studio "garden." (In a delightful touch, the assistants are shown in a scene reminiscent of the artist's La Danse.) Kids get cut- (or torn-) paper art intuitively and love playing with bright colors when creating their own masterpieces, and they'll appreciate that this book validates their own ideas about the freedom that comes with artistic experimentation. A brief biographical paragraph and material about the artworks close out the book. This title also makes for a great read-aloud before collage projects and in art units on major artists and color theory. Excellent.—Carol Goldman, Queens Library, NY
"In its inventive approach to teaching art history, this book should inspire teachers and students alike to experiment with color, shape and form in the same free and expressive mode as the master."