Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 236

Picture Book: The Iridescence of Birds: A Book about Henri Matisse

Author: Patricia Maclachlan

Illustrator: Hadley Hooper

Summary: This wonderful picture book is a visual exploration of the inspirational early years of French artist, Henri Matisse. It is grounded in some of the artist’s comments about his parents’ early influences on his artistic endeavors, particularly the delight his mother found in color. Experiences in his home are directly connected to his endeavors as a groundbreaking artist.

Hanna’s Comments: The art of Matisse is distinctive, particularly his paper cutouts which he began doing in his elderly years. His was a life of vibrancy and adaptation, important attributes for any visual artist and for those of us who claim to be made in the image of God. What better evidence of God’s vibrant creativity and productivity than the natural world of shape and color that Matisse’s art celebrates. Also, Matisse’s mother, presented here as a passionate life enthusiast, can be viewed as an metaphor for God. I believe that, like Madame Matisse, God must delight in the color and shape of creation and likewise want us to notice and experience it. Be sure to check out the author and illustrator comments at the end. There is another great picture book about Henri Matisse entitled Henri’s Scissors by Jeanette Winter that emphasizes his ingenious work with paper cut-outs. 

Publisher & Date of Publication: Roaring Brook Press, 2014

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up

# of Pages: 40

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Tablet

PBT Category: Biography, Fresh off the Press

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abundance/bounty, adaptation/assimilation, aging, art, attentiveness/observation/seeing, authenticity, awe, babies/children, beauty, blessings, call/calling/vocation, creation, creativity/imagination/ingenuity, encouragement, Europe, family, gifts/talents, God’s nature, growing up/growth, home, image of God, joy, life, mentors/teachers, mothers, nurturing, parents/parental love, passion, vision, wonder

Scripture Connections: We are made in Creator God’s image (Genesis 1:27); whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise think about these things (Philippians 4:8)

Idea(s) for Application: Consider reading this book to a group of artists who are meeting together to talk about God’s inspiring creativity such as an Artist’s Way group (see The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron). OR Consider using it for a parenting group in your faith community to encourage conversation about how to raise children in an inspiring and creative home.

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