Leo Lionni, an internationally known designer, illustrator, and graphic artist, was born in Holland and lived in Italy until he came to the United States in 1939. He was the recipient of the 1984 American Institute of Graphic Arts Gold Medal and was honored posthumously in 2007 with the Society of Illustrators' Lifetime Achievement Award. His picture books are distinguished by their enduring moral themes, graphic simplicity and brilliant use of collage, and include four Caldecott Honor Books: Inch by Inch, Frederick, Swimmy, and Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse. Hailed as "a master of the simple fable" by the Chicago Tribune, he died in 1999 at the age of 89.
K-Gr 3-- A classy, classic Lionni mouse fable with themes like those in Frederick (1967) or Geraldine, the Music Mouse (1979, both Pantheon). Here, too, the joy, exuberance, and service of an artist's calling are made clear to the very young. A poor mouse couple lives in a dusty attic where they have great hopes for their only child. When they ask Matthew what he wants to be, however, he is uncertain--until the day his class goes on a field trip to the art museum. The paintings make a profound impression on him, and they clarify his vocation; he is to be an artist. In one memorable turn of a page readers see just what the tiny dreamer has seen, as Matthew's imagination transforms the dreary junk of his attic corner into a Picasso-like work of art. Both the torn paper collages and the reproductions of museum `` mouse terpieces'' in various painting styles invite children to look and look again. A strong, fine book by an illustrator who, like Matthew, paints canvases ``filled with the shapes and colors of joy.'' --Anna Biagioni Hart, Sherwood Regional Library, Alexandria, VA
"A classy, classic fable . . . by an illustrator who, like Matthew,
paints canvases 'filled with the shapes and colors of
joy.'"-School Library Journal (Starred Review)
"Inviting, brilliant pages . . . offer a gentle introduction to the missions of art and the artist."-The Horn Book Magazine