Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Hello Rousseau! Get to know Rousseau through Stories, Games, and Draw-it-yoursel

Hello Rousseau! Get to know Rousseau through Stories, Games, and Draw-it-yoursel

Catherine de Duve
For ages 6 to 9
Birdcage Press, 2006   ISBN: 978-1599600024

Henri Rouseau was born in France in 1844. It was a time of great change in the world and thanks to new technologies, people were traveling further from home than they had ever done before. Henri alas, was never able to leave his homeland. The son of an artisan and metal-worker, Henri studied law for a while, joined the army, worked as a customs inspector, and eventually became a painter when he was in his forties. Through his paintings and the stories he told about himself, Rousseau went to distant lands and had the adventures he dreamed of.

At first Henri painted colorful and richly detailed pictures showing scenes from Paris life but then he turned to creating pictures showing jungle scenes. Inspired by the plants that he saw the in the greenhouses at the Botanical Gardens Rousseau painted paintings showing lush vegetation and exotic animals.

In addition to painting Rousseau wrote poems, plays and music. He was a skilled musician and was liked and admired by famous painters such as Picasso.

This book is unique because it not only tells the story of Henri Rousseau's life, but it also looks as some of his most famous paintings in detail. The author asks her readers questions, invites them to make up stories about the paintings, and encourages them to look carefully at the works that are reproduced in the book. There are also drawing and painting exercises to try. Readers might like to look at "Hello Matisse!" which was also written by Catherine de Duve.