Colorful Dreamer

The Story of Artist
Henri Matisse

This post is part of 
Nonfiction Monday
hosted today by Abby the Librarian
and joins It's Monday!
What are you reading?

Dial Books for Young Readers
(pub. 11.8.2012) 32 pages 

A True Tale with A Cherry On Top

     and Illustrator:  Holly Berry

haracter: Henri Matisse

O verview from the jacket flap: 

      "There was once a boy named Henri, whose dreams were full of color even though his hometown was dreary and gray. His parents expected him to take over the family shop when he grew up, but he longed for a more dramatic life, and dreamed of being noticed.
        Then Henri started painting ... and kept painting and dreaming and working at his craft until he'd become one of the most admired and famous artists in the world.
        This vivid, lyrical picture book tells one artist's remarkable story, and in the process inspires all readers to follow their own big dreams."
T antalizing taste: 

      "It wasn't easy ... But Henri was stubborn. He refused to give up.
      He dreamed colorful dreams. He painted colorful paintings. And, little by little, people noticed....
       He moved to the coast, where the light was clear and the colors bright. He named his villa 'La Reve' - the Dream - and he filled it with birds and goldfish and flowers and fabrics. Here too he painted, as more and more people noticed."
and something more: Marjorie Blain Parker explains in "A Note about Henri Matisse" at the back of Colorful Dreamer: "And, at first, Matisse's work was laughed at. Art critics sneered at his canvases, considering his technique shocking - the use of green in a woman's face, for example. They called him a Fauve, which is French for 'wild beast'."  
            Just a few days ago, I visited a class of 3rd graders to prepare them for their field trip visit today to The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art where I'm a docent and lead school group tours.  I held up the museum's Matisse painting, Femme au chapeau (Woman with a Hat 1905) and asked the class why they thought the people of Paris were so shocked and angry about this painting when it was first displayed. I called on a boy who was frantically waving his arm, and he responded, "I read a book and it said it was because green isn't a color that is supposed to be on people's faces."  Perhaps it was this very book, and today the boy will get to see the actual painting. Full circle. 


Linda at teacherdance said...

Just saw this book at a conference book store-looks terrific, a good addition to the many picture books about artists. Thanks for your story!

Debra said...
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Debra said...

This looks like a nice book to add to my class read alouds. I am always looking for more non-fiction picture books.

Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...

Ooolala! I love it! We really should do an artist-theme in GatheringBooks soon. We've been playing around with this idea forawhile now. I would definitely visit your website archive for book recommendations if we do decide to push through with this theme this year. :)

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Hi Linda, Yes, I think this book would be a perfect addition. And don't you love conference bookstores -- I love wandering through the SCBWI conference one (and end up walking away with bags full).

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Hi Myra, Oui oui! Your idea of an artist theme sounds wonderful, and I'm flattered that you would visit my previous blog posts for ideas.

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Hi Debra, Yes, I think this book would be a good read-aloud book for your students -- and they would enjoy the colorful illustrations.

Linda at teacherdance said...

Yes, I love conference Bookstores & spend far too much in them! I read your interview of April Hayley, Jeanne. What a lot of wonderful things she does. I think her quite visible presence must have been the light that helped people vote for her. Thanks!

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Thanks for reading my interview of April! Yes, she's definitely a shining light in our community.

Christie Wright Wild said...

I just read the book Gertrude is Gertrude is Gertrude is Gertrude by Jonah Winter. Apparently Gertrude Stein MET Henri Matisse. Very cool. Now I'll have to read this book, too. Thanks so much for sharing yet another GREAT PB biography recommendation!

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Hi Christie! I didn't realize the Gertrude Stein - Matisse connection either. What an amazing time that must have been in Paris! Thanks for nice comments.