Matisse on the Loose

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Overview

A kid. A famous painting. A cool moment. A prison sentence?

Have you ever done something you shouldn’t have? But you’re a good person and you don’t think that it’s going to cause any real harm? But then something bad happens and it turns out that you were wrong? Welcome to Matisse’s world.

Matisse has finally got the chance to come face to face with the work of his namesake, the great French painter Henri Matisse. The museum where his mom works...

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Matisse on the Loose

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Overview

A kid. A famous painting. A cool moment. A prison sentence?

Have you ever done something you shouldn’t have? But you’re a good person and you don’t think that it’s going to cause any real harm? But then something bad happens and it turns out that you were wrong? Welcome to Matisse’s world.

Matisse has finally got the chance to come face to face with the work of his namesake, the great French painter Henri Matisse. The museum where his mom works as head of security is hosting a Matisse exhibit. Matisse thought it would be cool to hang his own artwork—a copy of a famous Matisse painting, Portrait of Pierre—on the museum wall just for a minute.

But then a tour group thinks that it’s a real Matisse. So now Matisse’s painting hangs in a museum—while the priceless original hangs on Matisse’s eccentric family’s den wall. A sixth grader should not get caught up in a museum heist. But . . . what if he does?

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Peg Glisson
Eleven-year-old Matisse (named after the famous artist) is finding life difficult. He has rather unique parents who embarrass him, an older sister who is obsessed with the color purple, and a huge problem on his hands that could cost his mother her job as chief of security at the art museum. A talented artist, Matisse spends nearly every day after school at the museum making copies of the masterpieces on the walls. He is thrilled when an exhibit of Henri Matisse's work arrives and copies a portrait of Matisse's son Henri. When the security system goes on the fritz, he cannot resist the temptation to momentarily hang his own painting. The guards return before he can restore the original to its rightful place. His efforts to protect the priceless painting and return it without being caught are filled with many humorous moments. Matisse does confide in his best friend who not only offers lots of advice but also is drawn into some of the mishaps. This is a fun, easy read with obvious lessons about being true to yourself as well as truthful. Bragg's descriptive writing allows for lots of visualization, allowing the mind's eye to picture many scenes. The resolution is a bit unbelievable but will satisfy young readers. An author's note provides some details about real art thieves. Reviewer: Peg Glisson
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7–Named after the famous artist, Matisse Jones, 11, has one problem: “My family is like the sun. It’s dangerous to look right at them.” His father takes pride in his Dead Meat Catering business. His mother is head of security at the museum and wants one of her children to become an artist. Matisse’s older sister, Frida, has an obsession with purple. And the boy spends his after-school hours copying masterpieces. When his namesake’s exhibit opens, Matisse replaces the original Portrait of Pierre with his replica during a security breach. Eventually, he confesses to the owner of the painting, Pierre Matisse himself, who tells the youngster that art comes from the “couer” and advises him to trash his copies. The writing is fast paced and Matisse’s observations provide some laugh-out-loud amusement, but the characters are little more than plot elements. Overall, this novel offers a series of anecdotes about an art-loving boy dodging his mistake in a grown-up setting. The plethora of adult characters and interactions may limit the book’s appeal to avid art buffs.–Richelle Roth, Wilmington Public Library, OH
Kirkus Reviews
Eleven-year-old narrator Matisse's mother is head of security for the local art museum, where an exhibit of Henri Matisse's paintings is scheduled at the same time as a security-system overhaul. While the alarms are turned off, Matisse (the middle child, between Frida and Man Ray) gives in momentarily to temptation, replacing his namesake's Portrait of Pierre with his own convincing copy. Events that overtake him before he can put the original back in its frame turn his childish misdeed into an inadvertent heist. Despite an occasionally choppy narrative, Matisse's voice is just right for a sixth grader who is both caught up in the misery of a potentially disastrous error and distracted by his unconventional family and his loyal but blabby friend. Several laugh-out-loud moments and a number of credulity-stretching ones make for an odd mix of realistic, humorous fiction and tall tale, by turns genuinely funny and self-consciously amusing. A very good author's note gives some background about Henri and Pierre Matisse and about the reality of art thievery. (Fiction. 8-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385905596
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 7/14/2009
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 160
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Georgia Bragg’s father, mother, and brother are all artists, and Georgia is too. She was a printmaker, a painter, and a storyboard artist before becoming a writer. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two children, and two cats.
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Customer Reviews

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