Thank you to Midge Ballou Smith and the March 2017 Nonfiction Archaeology Class for this Compass Summary
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.
Nugget: In the late 1800s, a 40-year-old toll collector living in Paris decides to become an artist; with no visible talent, and no money to pay for lessons, he teaches himself to paint.
Needs Enticement: The opening lines are perfect, in my opinion. “Henri Rousseau wants to be an artist. Not a single persona ha 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.”And I am completely hooked.
Escalation: Shows him exhibiting his work in show after show and the critics just tearing it apart. He keeps going, giving music lessons to support himself and spending the rest of his time painting. He’s too poor to actually visit some of the exotic places he paints, so he studies from books to recreate them.
Satisfying Ending: After years of being laughed at and getting terrible reviews, Rousseau is near the end of his life. His remarkable painting, “The Dream” is displayed at the exhibition. The author writes in her closing, on a stand alone line:
“A famous poet writes, “I don’t think anyone will laugh this year.””
“Few people do.”
There are a few more lines to wrap it up, but the above lines state it all.
Sources: None listed. Although the author note details more of the facts of his life.
Show Words: exhibition, jungle, critics, landscapes, art supplies, smock, portraits, dream, Jardin des Plantes, canvas, paint, experts, blossom, frolic, slithering, museum, works of art, and many more.
Why: Through hard work and determination in the face of harsh art critiques, Rousseau shows that dreams do come true. He refuses to let others’ opinions be the measure of his success. A great life lesson.
Need & Want: An important story that will remind a reader that our big dreams are worth the effort and sacrifice.