July 21, 2016
Henri’s Scissors by Jeanette Winter
by Jeanette Winter
Beach Lane Books
I picked up Henri’s Scissors because I’ve always been vaguely fascinated by Matisse’s cut paper art work. I say vaguely because I’ve seen numerous pictures of it and thought “Wow, cool.” But I never knew much about him or why he created art in this particular way.
Before he created immense works of cut paper, Matisse was a painter. But long before that, he was a little boy who grew up in France watching his mother paint china. Although he drew pictures constantly in the margins of his text books and whenever he took notes, he didn’t initially study art. Instead, he became a lawyer.
Then when he developed appendicitis as a young man and was stuck recuperating in bed that his mother gave him a box of paints. He painted while he healed. Henri decided to leave law and he became a painter, moving to Paris and making art that drew people in and left them happy.
As an old man, he once again grew sick. He was so sick that he couldn’t paint, but he still dreamt of making art. He grew strong enough to draw but not to paint. Soon, he began making artwork out of cut paper.
I don’t want to tell any more of the story because I want young artists to discover him for themselves. Henri’s story is sure to be inspiring for anyone who struggles to make their dreams come true.
Jeanette Winters is both the writer and the illustrator. As she does so often, she has created colorful acrylic paintings to bring Henri Matisse to life for young readers, but she has done something more. Her artwork for this book includes cut paper as well as depictions of Henri Matisse’s own work.
If you have a young artist who struggles to create or any other young reader who is working to find the best way to express themselves, pick up this book and share it today. But don’t be surprised if they ask you for large sheets of brightly colored paper and a pair of scissors.