A visit to an art museum inspires a young mouse to become a painter.
"Ages 4-7. In his thirteenth book, Lionni offers a fable about art and love and the role of the imagination in making beauty out of squalor. One of Lionni's familiar-looking mice, Matthew, lives in the corner of a dusty, junk-strewn attic. Matthew's parents hope that perhaps he'll save the family by becoming a doctor. But when Matthew visits an art gallery, he is entranced. "The world is here," he thinks. He is equally entranced by Nicolleta, a mouse who is also soaking up culture. That night Matthew dreams about walking hand in hand through "playful patches of color." But when he awakens, he's back in his wretched attic. His inspiration stays with him, however, and he goes on to paint great things and marry Nicoletta. Like Gulley Jimson in Joyce Cary's The Horse's Mouth, who finds beauty in the garbage-lined banks of the Thames, Matthew rises above his surroundings; his ability to transform clutter into art will strike an inspirational note even in young children. They will also be captivated by the artwork itself. Lionni again uses his familiar collage and color techniques, but what colors! Because his subject is, in part, painting, he employs bright, rich hues that stand out smartly against the white backgrounds. There's a mini-art lesson here, too, as readers are exposed to various styles of painting in the museum pictures (albeit all have mice as their subjects). Though some might protest that Matthew's dream comes true all too easily, children are instinctively more attuned to the adage, "if you will it, it is not a dream. ~--Ilene Cooper"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"On a visit to a museum, a mouse discovers his artistic vocation; PW's boxed review said, ``In a classic `less is more' mode, the text is direct yet abundantly meaningful.'' Ages 3-7. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved