Henri Rousseau wanted to be an artist. But he had no formal training. Instead, he taught himself to paint. He painted until the jungles and animals and distant lands in his head came alive on the space of his canvases.
Henri Rousseau endured the harsh critics of his day and created the brilliant paintings that now hang in museums around the world. Michelle Markel's vivid text, complemented by the vibrant illustrations of Amanda Hall, artfully introduces young readers to the beloved painter and encourages all readers to persevere despite all odds.
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About the Author
Michelle Markel is the author of many children's books, includingTyrannosaurus Math (Tricycle/Random House) and Dreamer from the Village: The Story of Marc Chagall (Henry Holt). Michelle lives in California. Visit her website at www.michellemarkel.com. Amanda Hall has illustrated a number of picture books, including The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau (Eerdmans), which won the PEN/Steven Kroll Award. Amanda lives in England. Visit her website at www.amandahall-illustration.com.
Read an Excerpt
The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau
By Michelle Markel
Eerdmans Books for Young ReadersCopyright © 2012 Michelle Markel
All right reserved.
Chapter OneHenri Rousseau wants to be an artist. Not a single person has ever told him he is talented. He's a toll collector. He's forty years old.
But he buys some canvas, paint, and brushes, and starts painting anyway.
Why? Because he loves nature. Because when he strolls through the parks of Paris, it's like the flowers open their hearts, the trees spread their arms, and the sun is a blushing ruby, all for him.
Henri can't afford art lessons, so he has to be his own art teacher. He goes to the Louvre and examines the satiny paintings of his favorite artists.
To learn about anatomy, he studies photographs and illustrations from postcards, magazines, and catalogues.
One day Henri reads about a big art exhibition. He puts his canvases in a handcart and wheels them to the building where the show will be held. He's forty-one years old, and this is the very first time he'll display his work! He can hardly wait to hear what the experts will say.
Mean things. That's what most of them write. But Henri snips out the articles anyway, and pastes them in a scrapbook.
Henri walks around the city, gathering ideas for his pictures. He goes to the World's Fair, where a man named Eiffel has built a latticed tower of metal rising several hundred feet into the air.
What thrills Henri most are the fair's exhibits of villages from distant lands. They remind him of adventure stories he loved when he was a boy.
Days later, Henri can still picture the plants and animals from faraway places. He holds his paintbrush to the canvas. A tiger crawls out. Lightning strikes, and wind whips the jungle grass.
Sometimes Henri is so startled by what he paints that he has to open the window to let in some air.
Excerpted from The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau by Michelle Markel Copyright © 2012 by Michelle Markel. Excerpted by permission of Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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