Monday, December 2, 2013

Henri's Scissors by Jeanette Winter

Henri's Scissors by Jeanette Winter

Rating: 4.5 stars

Lorelei has this new thing; she says she first saw it on a show called "Dino Dan."  She puts all of her fingers to her forehead then explodes them outward, with the proper sound as well.  She uses the motion (and corresponding exploding sound) to tell us that her mind is blown.

This book blew her mind a little--in how Matisse helped expand her definition of art, and in his life itself.

Underneath neatly illustrated pictures that correspond right along, Winter writes about Matisse's life.  As a small boy, he watched his mother paint children.  He wanted to paint, too.  He drew pictures in the sand, in his schoolbooks, and when he grew older, alongside his law books.  One winter, sick in bed, his "mother gave him a box of paints, and he painted until he was well."

After that, Henri never stopped painting.  Winter includes a few of his most famous paintings; he looks up at them, happy.
As he fell asleep, his grandchildren looked down on him
and saw his dreams.

When he was an old man, he fell ill.  "So ill he couldn't paint, so ill he couldn't sit up, so ill he could only lie in bed and sleep."  Finally, at long last, he had the energy to sit and paint.  Then one day, he picked up a pair of scissors, and decided that when he cut paper, he was "drawing with scissors!" He cuts himself into a new era as an artist, and he happily covers his walls (and, I imagine, others' walls) with cut-outs.

He is, once again, happy.

The book makes your kids want to
DO ART in a great, new-ish way!
When your child's mind is blown just a that is a good children's book.  I love how cutting out shapes is included in art (Matisse might have done it in slightly more interesting ways than Kiefer currently does...) AND that Matisse tries something new at an old age.  How wonderful that he re-imagines what drawing is when his beard has long been gray!  This is a nicely done art book that teaches and inspires.

One last thing: I love that Matisse took a long pole, tied a piece of chalk to it, and drew the faces of his grandchildren up on the ceiling so that they smiled down on him and saw his dreams.  What a lovely way to fall asleep each night!

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