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22gigantes.com - The characters in Henri Rousseau's The Sleeping Gypsy inspired Mordicai Gerstein to create an elegant, beautifully illustrated story about them.A girl, alone in the desert, lies on the sand and sleeps. But she is not alone for long. A lizard, a rabbit, a turtle and other animals come to scrutinize her, and a lion leaps into the scene and claims her for his own.A silhouette approaches from the distance. He introduces himself as Henri Rousseau, the dreamer of this dream, who plans to paint a picture of it. The animals pose for the artist but criticize his work with comments like "You've made my nose too big." So the artist removes complainers one by one from the painting, until only the girl and the lion remain.
Most helpful customer reviews 0 of 0 people found the following review helpful. Making Fine Art Appealing to Young Children By L. M. Keefer This is a well-known painting of a gypsy girl sleeping in the desert by a stream, and a lion approaches her. It was painted by the French artist Henry Rousseau who lived in the late 1800's and died in 1910. This picture hangs in the MOMA where you can see it.This book imagines the story behind this mysterious painting. The author first saw the painting when he was 8 or 9 and was fascinated by the mystery behind this picture. So, he imagined how the picture might have come to be. The artist is known for his "fantastical jungle scenes" and had no formal training.This is an imaginative take on the painting. I like books which interest children in art and art history. This book accomplishes that. The illustrations suit the painting and have a similar feel to them. That's splendid. A class could write their own story about what is going on in this painting as a creative writing exercise. Or bring in lots of interesting paintings to the class, and let the children choose one which interests them and write a story about it. Young children like fine art. When I was a headmistress of a private school, we had a poster on foam core of a famous painting and titled it "Masterpiece of the Week". The children learned the names of the painting and artist, and answered questions about it. One five-year-old stunned her parents when she was on the elevator in NYC, and saw a poster of a Matisse exhibit and said to her parents, "Look Mommy and Daddy. There's a Matisse!" Young children can become excited about fine art, and it trains their artistic awareness, appreciation and sensibilities. 0 of 0 people found the following review helpful. A masterpiece of imagination... By Mrs Mommy Booknerd (Mrs Mommy Booknerd&#39;s Book s) #MMBBR This book is a bit of magic and imagination all wrapped together. It is such a cool concept to look at a painting and then create a narrative that may have accompanied it. It sparks imagination and the concept of dreams realized. It highlights the fact that criticism can not always be erased, but being critical of others can cause you to miss out on opportunities. What is left after all the animals have stated their thoughts is a beautiful illustration of a girl and a lion. A thought provoking and insightful story that will stay with me for a long time!I received this book free for my honest review. See all 2 customer reviews...
From School Library Journal PreS-Gr 2—Henri Rousseau was a self-taught artist who worked in France during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Often referred to as a naive painter, he is known for his lush, fanciful, and mysterious jungle scenes. One of his most haunting canvases, The Sleeping Gypsy, exhibits these characteristics but is set in the desert; a woman in a striped caftan lies asleep in the sand under a moonlit sky, a mandolin and a jug of water by her side, as a lion peers into her face. Here, Gerstein imagines a story about this painting; Rousseau dreams that he walks into the desert, sets up his equipment, and begins limning the menagerie of animals gathered around a slumbering woman, curious to know what she is doing, where she is headed, and what she is seeking. But one by one the artist erases the animals from his canvas when they comment negatively on his portrayals, until only the lion is left, guarding the figure as the morning sun rises. In reproducing the artist's dream, Gerstein evokes the same surrealistic nature of the painting, but his pesky animals lighten the tone (though this lion does bare his teeth). Like Samantha Friedman's What Degas Saw and Susan Goldman Rubin's Roy's House, this title offers children a story and information about an important Western artist and his work. VERDICT For large collections and anywhere books on art and artists are enjoyed and needed.—Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal About the Author Mordicai Gerstein is the Caldecott-winning author-illustrator of "The Man Who Walked Between the Towers", as well as a painter, sculptor, and prize-winning designer and director of animated films. Other books he has illustrated include "Three Samurai Cats" and "The Jar of Fools: Eight Hanukkah Stories from Chelm", both written by Eric A. Kimmel. "Publishers Weekly" praised his artwork as "inventive...bound to take any reader's breath away." He resides in western Massachusetts.
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