Writer. Wife. Mom. Animal lover. Not necessarily in that order. SCBWI Eastern PA. Despite what my family says, I did not mean to leave them in the snow when the dogsled tipped.
Friday, March 1, 2013
The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau by Michelle Markel – PPBF
In a short discussion about picture book biographies, a fellow participant in Julie Hedlund’s 12x challenge reminded me of this book on my shelf. While we are used to seeing picture books with child, or child-like protagonists, biographies are one area in which adults are prevalent. The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau is unusual perhaps because there isn’t a hint of Henri’s childhood. The opening takes my breath away-imagining Henri beginning his artistic journey. The illustrations are similarly inspiring, done in Rousseau’s style--lush, bold and playful.
Title: The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau
Author: Michelle Markel
Illustrator: Amanda Hall
Publisher: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2012 Audience: 3+ years of age
Themes: Art, Dignity, Persistence, Self-Belief
Opening: “Henri Rousseau wants to be an artist. Not a single person has ever told him he is talented. He’s a toll collector. He’s forty years old. But he buys some canvas, paint, and brushes, and starts painting anyway.”
Synopsis: Readers expecting quick success will be disappointed. Henri Rousseau endured years of criticism and derision from the art community in Paris. But he knew that he wanted to paint, he knew it made him feel alive, it let him visit exotic places in his mind, and so he kept painting. It wasn’t until late in his life that he enjoyed a modicum of success.
Activities/Resources:To get a taste of this book you can visit Eerdman's book trailer: Author Michelle Markal has a discussion guide for the book on her website. This book is a useful springboard for discussing why some people like certain types of art and how art is valued. Then grab the markers, paints, pencils and crayons and make some art!
This review is part of PPBF (perfect picture book Friday) where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books.
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This book encourages ME to pursue my love of writing, Wendy. Imagine what it can do for children. Thanks for sharing it!ReplyDelete
I agree, Jarm!Delete
It looks beautiful! I have the Monet one and have read another artist one possibly by the same author. There seem to be a lot of them which is great!ReplyDelete
The combination of words and art is exhilarating here.ReplyDelete
Wendy, this sounds awesome. I love books about artists for kids - I hope someday to illustrate one.ReplyDelete
I hope to write one-we're a perfect picture book Friday pair!Delete
A beautiful book!ReplyDelete
Thanks for coming by, Julie.Delete
What a great book to learn about believing in yourself and persisting against all odds. I love the piece "The Dream." I never realized Rousseau had such a hard time. Loved the video. Love historical fiction.ReplyDelete
I learn TONS from kids books!Delete
As Jarm and Patricia said, Rousseau's story applies to writers very well and teaches us to persist and believe in ourselves. Very inspiring! I am familiar with his art but not his struggles, so thank you for educating me about him. :)ReplyDelete
Maybe that's why his story resonates with me--I like to think writers are artists, too. Artists with words.Delete
Wendy, as someone who came to writing in their late forties, I find this so encouraging.ReplyDelete
Love these types of books. I was aware of this one before, and I'm glad you're spreading it to others, Wendy! This is what PPBF is all about.ReplyDelete
This book sounds excellent. So glad it shows that his success wasn't instantaneous. That would have been helpful for me as a kid -- I tended to give up in disgust if things didn't turn out as perfectly as I wanted them to.ReplyDelete