School Library Journal
Gr 2-5- Anholt tells the story behind Matisse's final masterpiece-Chapelle du Rosaire. During a serious illness, the artist becomes friends with his nurse, Monique, and he draws and paints several pictures of her. When his health improves, she leaves the man who has been like a grandfather to her and joins a strict religious order. Years later, the two friends are reunited when Matisse moves into a villa close to the nunnery. As a final gift for Monique, now Sister Jacques-Marie, he designs a simple chapel for the nuns. At first she is disappointed in the stark white building created by the "King of Color." Then the morning sun shines through the brilliant stained-glass windows, and she feels like she is floating in a beautiful sea of color. The bright and cheerful illustrations draw heavily on Matisse's drawings, paintings, and collages. Facts about the artist's life and style are also skillfully woven into the story and illustrations. Readers will be delighted to see how he drew pictures on the ceiling; he "tied chalk to a long stick so that he could draw his grandchildren" high above his bed. Photographs from inside the Chapelle du Rosaire help children see and feel the glow that chapel visitors experience firsthand. More information about Matisse, Sister Jacques-Marie, and Chapelle du Rosaire is included on the inside back cover. Whether in an art-themed storytime or one-on-one sharing, readers will find this book uplifting.-Carolyn Janssen, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.