The Iridescence of Birds

Iridescence of BirdsThe Iridescence of Birds
by Patricia MacLachlan; illus. by Hadley Hooper
40 pages; ages 4-8
Roaring Brook, 2014

If you come to this book hoping to gain understanding of things ornithological, you might be disappointed because it’s a biography of artist Henri Matisse told in two questions – one that spreads over the first 32 pages and the other quite short.

But you don’t have to read the entire book in one breath. In fact, you’ll want to take your time on each page as the story unfolds.

It begins: If you were a boy named Henri Matisse who lived in a dreary town in northern France where the skies were gray…

If you were such a boy, and you wanted color and light, what would you do? In this portrait of words and art MacLachlan and Hooper bring Henri to life. Color begins to seep into the pages until, by the end of the story, the pages are as full of color as a Matisse painting.

This is the sort of book that makes your fingers itch with wanting to paint, or tack warm-colored tapestries on your walls. It will also have you taking a second look at those ubiquitous pigeons whose feathers and feet may have inspired Matisse.

Head over to Sally’s Bookshelf and check out some book-related activities for young naturalists and artists.

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