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Matisse: The King of Color

(Anholt's Artists)

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  172 ratings  ·  34 reviews
When Monique, a young visiting nurse, steps into the home of an elderly patient, she finds herself in rooms filled with the most vivid color she has ever seen. Her patient is the artist Henri Matisse, and as Matisse recovers from his illness, he and Monique become good friends. Later, Monique enters a convent where she becomes a nursing nun--and by happy coincidence, she m ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published October 1st 2007 by B.E.S. Publishing (first published September 7th 2007)
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Average rating 4.27  · 
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 ·  172 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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Nov 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: famous artists
This story about Matisse is told from the point of view of Monique a nurse that helped him through some illness he had. He would paint her from his bed. Nuggets of facts are heaped throughout the story.

The artwork is amazing. It is in the style of Matisse and it's fun to look at in the story. There is so much color. It I were an artist, which I'm not, but I would be more like Matisse. The man loved color and was always trying to make his paintings and works of art brighter. That sounds like me.
Dec 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
I love this story of Matisse and Monique, a young visiting nurse who cares for him during an illness and remains his friend even after becoming a nun. The book tells how the Chapelle du Rosaire was built. Laurence Anholt's books do a great job at providing a [somewhat simplified] look at artists' lives and inspirations.

The beginning of the note on the back cover makes me want to emulate Matisse (except for the illness part):

"Henri Matisse (1869-1954) discovered painting in his twenties while re
Jan 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a heartwarming tale of Henri Matisse's later years and his relationship with a visiting nurse who later becomes a nun. The narrative is fascinating and the vibrant illustrations are wonderful.

Henri's determination to continue creating art is humorous and inspiring. We loved seeing Henri draw on the ceiling while confined to bed. The author's note at the end offers a welcome expanded version of the events that are described in the book. We really enjoyed reading this book together and I
I must admit that while I am familiar with some of Matisse's artwork, I knew very little about his life. I am impressed by his determination to continue to create art despite his poor health and his desire to help Monique who had worked as his nurse before becoming a nun. Again, I did not know about the Chapelle du Rosaire, but it sounds wonderful! I love stained glass windows. Both the story and illustrations completely captured my attention and won me over! ...more
Jul 07, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Children
An endearing story about the artist Henri Matisse, especially the ending. We own a Matisse print that hung in our dining room for years so I was happy to find out a little more about him through a children's book at that! My girls seemed to enjoy the story as well. Another one we'll visit in the future for art study. ...more
Jun 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
We loved learning about Matisse--and used this book with others showing his work and did cut-outs in his style for an art lesson. The story is so personable and we really loved seeing pictures of the chapel he designed with those REMARKABLE stained glass windows. A far cry from those dry "learn about artist" books. . . Can't wait to read more by this author. ...more
Sep 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
OK, the original books in this series were AMAZING. Now it is getting a bit old, but the concept is wonderful. Finding a way to bring famous art to kids is always going to get a great review in my eyes.
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
I don’t have anything to add about this book that hasn’t been covered by the reviewers here. I bought my children all of Laurence Anholt’s children’s bios of artists; each book has a unique style to reflect the subject, and each is insightful and delightful!
Tonya Branch
Dec 11, 2011 rated it really liked it

This story is about Monique, a nurse and her friendship with Henry Matisse, a great French artist. First Monique meets Matisse when he is sick. She has to come to his home and care for him. When she gets there, she sees all of the beautiful paintings he has done. She nurses him to health and they continue to be friends. In the story, Monique joins a convent and becomes a nun. She is still a nurse while here and the only problem is that the convent needs repairs. She talks to Matisse
When Monique, a young visiting nurse, steps into the home of an elderly patient, she finds herself in rooms filled with the most vivid color she has ever seen. Her patient is the artist Henri Matisse, and as Matisse recovers from his illness, he and Monique become good friends. Later, Monique enters a convent where she becomes a nursing nun--and by happy coincidence, she meets Matisse once again. Her religious order is so poor that they don't have a chapel of their own, but Matisse decides that ...more
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
04/11: When recovering from surgery, Matisse had a lovely young lady care for him at nights. Her name was Monique, and they became close friends. As Matisse healed, he and Monique parted ways. She became a Dominican nun. By Providence, they later ended up living very close to one another in Vence, France and met up again. They were both so happy about this!

Monique's convent was so poor that the nuns had to say their prayers in a drafty old garage. When Monique mentioned this to Matisse, he buil
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So far this is the best Matisse book of my aquaintance. It checks several boxes. It has a reasonable amount of bio. It’s has a narrative with a climax. It has a good grasp of what Matisse was known for AND it hits two separate art periods of Matisse’s life through his friendship with his nurse (later a Dominican nun). It hits both the period where he was concerned with form as well as the period where he combined that with light. It also highlights what is arguably his best known work the modern ...more
Jan 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: jp
I love how Matisse's studio is called the 'jungle studio' and he was called the 'wild beast' because he loved bright colors so much! Monique was his night nurse before entering a nursing convent & Matisse made many pictures of her. They met again & Monique showed Matisse a drawing she'd made of a design for a stained glass window. Matisse decided to repay Monique for her care of him by making a chapel for her order where he painted with light using the stained glass windows. ...more
Oct 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, art
I liked that this book introduces matisses life as Full of color. but also focuses on his generous efforts to build the chapel which used to stained glass to "paint" the walls with light.

Great introduction to stained-glass and the quality of colored light--tissue paper lanterns or stained glass would be a fun project.
Apr 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a gorgeous book that introduced the boys I babysit to the world of famous Western painters. The older boy loves art and sat looking at this book long after his brother had lost interest. Filled with gorgeous art and held together by a touching story, I strongly recommend this book to anyone in charge of small children!
Sep 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a wonderful little addition to our Henri Matisse unit for art. As with other past artists that I didn't first enjoy their work, I have grown to have an appreciation for Matisse's contribution to the art community and his endless passion to discover new ways to create even when physically limited with some mediums. ...more
Apr 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
My six year old and I LOVED this book. Of course, she loves books about artists, but this one was done particularly well IMO.

Here's a link to my review of it...
Sep 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
I love Matisse. This picture book captures the period of the painter's life when his health was failing. He created a beautiful chapel in southern France that is now at the top of my bucket list of things to see. ...more
Karen Dransfield
Dec 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
A great picture book introducing Matisse in his later years. It includes works of art in the pictures and real photo's of the chapel and the windows he designed. A great way to start a unit looking at his life. ...more
Karen Dransfield
Another delightful story about Henri Matisse's life. This one includes actual photo's at the back of his chapel, as well as representations of his actual works. Lots of ideas for me to think about for my term 3 art class. ...more
Sally Anderson
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
It was remarkable. Reading this out loud to my class, they were either silent or gasping and looking around at each other wide eyed -- they were riveted from start to finish. It's playful and one I look forward to returning to. ...more
Sep 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I enjoy reading stories about artists. This one is quite well done and describes a part of Matisse's life that I was unaware of. ...more
Feb 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
A great fictionalized story about a true event. There's not a lot of dialogue given to either Matisse or his nurse and it introduces the concept of stained glass and papercuts in a very nice way. ...more
erin ball
Jan 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Now I want to go to France. :)
Jun 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
wonderfully told story of the Chapelle du Rosaire
Dec 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Cool enough story about a famous artist. Nice layout of text and illustrations.
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this series of picture books and this is the best yet! Such a wonderful introduction to a famous artist. Every reader will want to learn more.
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lovely story of Henri Matisse and a young woman named Monique, who cared for Matisse.
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
While this book doesn't give a lot of information on Henri Matisse, it does serve as a good introduction to the artist for children. My daughter and I both enjoyed it. ...more
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
A sweet story about Matisse's later years. ...more
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In a career spanning three decades, Laurence Anholt has produced over 200 children's books, which are published in more than 30 languages. Titles like the self-illustrated Anholt's Artists series have sold many millions of copies around the world. Laurence has also collaborated on numerous picture books with his wife, the artist, Catherine Anholt.

Laurence's first YA / Crossover novel THE HYPNOTIST

Other books in the series

Anholt's Artists (8 books)
  • Camille and the Sunflowers: A Story about Vincent van Gogh
  • Degas and the Little Dancer: A story about Edgar Degas (Anholt's Artists)
  • Picasso and the Girl with a Ponytail
  • Leonardo and the Flying Boy
  • The Magical Garden of Claude Monet (Anholt's Artists)
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  • Papa Chagall, Tell Us a Story

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