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The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse

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9781596439481: The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse
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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

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About the Author:

Patricia MacLachlan is the author of many novels for children, including the Newbery Medal-winning Sarah, Plain and Tall; Baby; Waiting for the Magic; and The Truth of Me. Among her picture books are What You Know First and Lala Salama. She lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband and her old dog, Emmet.
Hadley Hooper works as an editorial illustrator for numerous magazines and newspapers. In 2011 she illustrated Here Come the Girl Scouts! by Shana Corey. The Iridescence of Birds is her second picture book and first for Roaring Brook Press. She lives in Denver, Colorado.

From School Library Journal:

Gr 1–4—This richly textured picture book looks at Henri Matisse's inspiration as a young boy, beginning with a spread depicting the gray, clammy French village in which he grew up. But while it is cold and damp outside, Matisse's mother fills the interior of their home with light through pattern and color. She paints natural scenes on plates, allows her son to mix and experiment with paint, and covers every possible surface with color. They are surrounded by their art. This look at Matisse's creativity and artistic process is strong and unusual for several reasons. Maclachlan concentrates on Matisse's mother and her influence on his eventual career. Her poetic text doesn't give the specific details of the man's life, but readers come away with a real sense of his art. Hooper's art, a combination of relief printmaking and digital techniques, expands readers' understanding of the text. They have strong solid lines, contrasting with the wide range of pastel colors. Hooper isn't derivative of Matisse's style but rather takes his tools and creates something new. On one spread, the background features a piece of Matisse's art; careful viewers will notice the artist in the foreground, growing from a boy into a man. The book gives off a creative energy that readers of all ages will find fulfilling. The simplicity of the text makes this book appropriate to use as a springboard to Matisse's work for even the very young. A poetic look at creativity, both natural and nurtured.—Susan E. Murray, formerly at Glendale Public Library, AZ

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