Last year, just about this time, I fell in love with the Alexander Calder pop-up book by the extremely talented Patricia Geis. It introduced kids to one of my favorite childhood artists in the most perfect way. And while Matisse wasn’t known for 3-D sculptures and mobiles, the format of storytelling plus interactive pop-up visuals that’s back in the new Meet the Artist: Henri Matisse pop-up book is still a spectacular way to bring his work to life.
The book is designed for kids as young as maybe six who will love the photos and interactive flaps and pop-ups (gentle, now…) and will understand the finer points of the story with some guided reading with a parent. However kids as old as about 13 will be captivated by the biographical details and evocative storytelling that goes way beyond what you probably expect when you hear “pop-up art book for kids.”
It really is special.
The biographical narrative and the vocabulary aren’t dumbed down for young readers in the least, and I love learning just a bit about each style of Matisse’s work , from his colorful Mediterranean paintings, through his interiors and later paper cuts. Trivia-hungry kids will love some of the fascinating details.
I also like how the author prompts you to do things like put on music and dance and note how you feel; or try to look around you and spot things only by color, to see things the way another might see them for the first time. Like, say, a goldfish in a bowl.
As a parent, don’t stop with where the book leaves off. It’s really neat to see what captures my own daughters’ imaginations, then to hit the Interwebs to show them photos of the actual artwork, like the Matisse chapel, above.
Isn’t that the best thing about any great children’s book? It satisfies some of that delicious curiosity, then creates even more.
You can find Patricia Geis’s Meet the Artist: Henri Matisse and two others in the series at our affiliate Amazon, or your local indie bookseller.