Rembrandt's Beret

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
An artist tells his granddaughter of the source of his inspiration: a visit to a Florentine art museum as a small boy, during which the portraits of the Old Masters came to life. The boy had his portrait painted by Rembrandt and left with it and the master's brushes, which he still has. A stilted text sprinkled with adult references and puns (``I was framed,'' complains Caravaggio) exacerbates this story's contrived, lifeless quality; nor are the book's dark, sometimes surreal oils an accessible entree to the world of art. Posy Simmonds's Lulu and the Flying Babies offers a livelier, more child-oriented fantasy in a similar setting, and is more apt to convince young readers that art can ``speak'' to them. Ages 6-up. (May)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Rumors have persisted about a secret passageway that spans the Arno River in Florence, Italy linking two great museums, the Uffizi Gallery and the Pitti Palace. It's further rumored that the passageway is graced with portraits and self-portraits of the Old Masters. Since this Passageway is always under restoration no one except our hero can claim to have visited it.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5 --In an attempt to get a young girl to sit still and hold a pose, her painter grandfather tells a story of his own boyhood. He recounts how he was locked in the Uffizi gallery and found his way to the secret Hall of Old Masters. The portraits and self-portraits of the great artists that lined the walls spoke to him, climbed out of their frames (holding their paintbrushes), and danced about the gallery. Rembrandt won the contest over who should be allowed to paint the boy and presented him with his own beret--his painter's crown--a gift that turned him toward a life in art. The fantasy in this story is forced, and the text is overwritten. The illustrations are painterly, showing vigorous brush strokes, rich colors, and deep shadows--modernistic compositions that echo the 17th-century masters. However, the Florentine setting, the names of artists mentioned without explanation, and the focus on the world of high art limit appeal to young readers already acquainted with art history. --Shirley Wilton, Ocean County College, Toms River, NJ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688102074
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/1/1991
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 6 years

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