An inspiring portrait of one of the world's most loved artists
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 learn a trade when he grew up, but being a law clerk bored him, and he continued to dream of a colorful, exciting life, and 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 lyrical, visually rich picture book is more than an excellent biography; at its core, this remarkable book is an encouragement to never give up on your dreams.
For a boy whose "dreams were full of color," life in Henri Matisse's industrial village is bleak. Young Henri is a source of anxiety for his hardworking parents, who fear he will never make a living; his departure for Paris to study law comes as a relief. Berry (Woof: A Love Story) ties her mixed-media artwork to Matisse's growth and eventual embrace of art. Scenes of Matisse's upbringing and dreary work as a law clerk are drawn in pencil, but when he begins painting, his life transforms. "The moment Henri opened that box, he knew. The colors! This was what he had been dreaming of," writes Parker (When Dads Don't Grow Up). Berry then fills her spreads with vibrant acrylic paintings and collage artwork, integrating flamboyant patterns and tropical motifs that echo the work that Matisse tirelessly creates ("He worked as hard as any artist ever had. He worked until the very day he died"). Readers whose talents stray from the conventional should welcome this joyful affirmation of creative expression. Ages 3 up.