Review of the Week: The Iridescence of Birds

iridescence of birdsMacLachlan, Patricia. The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse. Hadley Hooper, Illus. Non-fiction. Roaring Brook, 2014. 42p. $17.99. 978-1-59643-948-1. OUTSTANDING. GRADES K-3.

Patricia MacLachlan’s gift for whittling prose to its essential conveyance of ideas and feelings works harmoniously with the
sponge-on-cardboard illustrations in telling the story of the influences on the art of Henri Matisse. With the aid of her son, Matisse’s mother’s desire to bring color into his life has a lifelong influence on the boy. While this book’s art is not as bright as Matisse’s art, it is successful in turning the gray world colorful. Matisse would probably admire the technique used here. The author’s and illustrator’s notes, along with a further reading list, add to the material but are challenging to read on the gray background. The title word “iridescence” may put off some readers, but it may intrigue others. CIP puts this with painters, but it could almost live with picture books. Note the boy on the front cover and the man on the back.
David Howd, Berkeley PL

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