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The Iridescence of Birds : A Book about Henri Matisse
by Patricia MacLachlan and Hadley Hooper


Overview -

If you were a boy named Henri Matisse who lived in a dreary town in northern France, what would your life be like? Would it be full of color and art? Full of lines and dancing figures?

Find out in this beautiful, unusual picture book about one of the world's most famous and influential artists by acclaimed author and Newbery Medal-winning Patricia MacLachlan and innovative illustrator Hadley Hooper.  Read more...


 
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More About The Iridescence of Birds by Patricia MacLachlan; Hadley Hooper
 
 
 
Overview

If you were a boy named Henri Matisse who lived in a dreary town in northern France, what would your life be like? Would it be full of color and art? Full of lines and dancing figures?

Find out in this beautiful, unusual picture book about one of the world's most famous and influential artists by acclaimed author and Newbery Medal-winning Patricia MacLachlan and innovative illustrator Hadley Hooper.

A Neal Porter Book

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781596439481
  • ISBN-10: 1596439483
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publish Date: October 2014
  • Page Count: 40
  • Reading Level: Ages 4-8


Related Categories

Books > Juvenile Nonfiction > Art - History
Books > Juvenile Nonfiction > Biography & Autobiography - Art

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2014-08-18
  • Reviewer: Staff

In one long, singing sentence (and a briefer second one that’s no less lyrical), MacLachlan (Snowflakes Fall) takes what’s known of Matisse’s upbringing and shows how naturally it leads into a life as an artist. “If you were a boy named Henri Matisse who lived/ in a dreary town in Northern France where the skies were gray,” she starts, as Hooper (Here Come the Girl Scouts!) draws a bundled-up boy crossing a village square in the wintry dusk. As MacLachlan shows how Matisse’s mother brought color into her son’s life, Hooper’s woodcutlike images recall Matisse’s organic forms and brilliant hues while preserving her own style. Small Henri feeds pigeons, “Watching... their colors that changed with the light... That your mother called iridescence.” On the next page, the boy stands opposite the man Matisse, who holds a palette. “Would it be a surprise that you became/ A fine painter who painted/ Light/ and Movement/ And the iridescence of birds?” It’s a sumptuous meditation on the way artists see and feel, one that possesses an iridescence of its own. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Rubin Pfeffer, Rubin Pfeffer Content LLC. Illustrator’s agent: Marlena Agency. (Oct.)

 
BookPage Reviews

A lush look at Mattisse's art-filled childhood

In what has to be the best-named picture book of the year, Newbery Medalist Patricia Mac-Lachlan brings readers the story of the young Henri Matisse and his childhood inspirations, with eye-catching illustrations from Hadley Hooper.

There are any number of ways MacLachlan could have described the creativity surrounding the boy Matisse, but the manner she chooses is thoroughly engaging. The text is essentially one very long conditional sentence: “If you were a boy named Henri Matisse . . .” It’s an inviting way to bring to life the creative presences of his childhood, while also prompting children to ponder the inspiration in their own lives.

Matisse was born into a “dreary town in northern France where the skies were gray / And the days were cold.” He longed for color and light and sun. Here, Hooper brings us lots of grays and shadows. On the next spread, it’s as if a light has been turned on and cast through a prism, as Matisse’s mother brought life and color to his world. She painted plates; she put out paints for mixing; and she let the boy arrange fruits and flowers. In this way, the book is not only a celebration of color and art and everyday objects that bring inspiration, but ultimately a celebration of motherhood. And it’s simply resplendent: the writing; Hooper’s relief prints, which reflect the varied and intriguing patterns, textures, shapes, colors and layers Matisse’s mother brought to his life; and the way the art and words work together to tell this tale.

Closing author and illustrator notes are followed by suggested reading for those who want to learn more. Well crafted on every level, this is one of the year’s most beautiful books.

 

This article was originally published in the October 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews