Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Henri Matisse: Drawing with Scissors by Jane O'Connor #26

O’Conner, J. (2002). Henri Matisse: drawing with scissors. Illustrated by Jessie Hartland. New York: Grosset & Dunlap.

Book Type/Pages:


Grade Level:

Second through fifth grades

Curriculum Links:


Author Credibility:

I could not locate any information on the author in regards to her credibility with this book. However, the information presented in this book is consistent with other research on Henri Matisse that I have conducted. Jane O’Conner has written many award winning children’s books.


I could not locate any awards for this book.

Book Summary:

This book is about the artist Henri Matisse. It is told from the point of view of a girl doing a book report for school. Matisse was born in France in the late 1800’s and after a period of illness, where he discovered painting, went to Paris to study formal painting. After several different stages that his work went through, he became older and sickly. He was no longer able to paint traditionally, so he turned to cutting shapes out of painted paper and then arranging them on paper.

National/State Standards:

National Art Education Standards:
Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others


The illustrations in this book are a combination of several mediums: collage, photographs, reproductions of Matisse’s art work, and acrylic. The book is set up as a student written report so each two page spread varies. Headings and other information appear to be handwritten, as well as other touches that make it look like a scrapbook. The illustrations were very interesting and whimsical.

Access Features:

There are no traditional access features in this book. The book starts with what appears as a handwritten note on a piece of stationary from a teacher. The note details an assignment that each student has on a chosen artist.

Writing Style:

The writing style is informal and conversational. Because it is written from the standpoint of a student report, the text is easy to read and understand. There is a humor in the story, as the “student” adds her own take and connections to what she has learned about Henri Matisse.

Use in My Classroom:

I would use this book as a part of artist studies.

My Response to the Book:

I really liked this book. The way the book is set up, makes it very interesting to read. It really did feel as if I was reading the report of a fifth or sixth grade student. The interesting mix of illustrations also made this an interesting book to read.

Related Texts:

Other books about Henri Matisse:

Henri Matisse (Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists) by Mike Venezia
Henri Matisse (Artists in Their Time) by Jude Welton
A Bird or 2: A Story about Henri Matisse by Bijou Le Tord
Matisse: Cut-Out Fun with Matisse (Adventures in Art) by Henri Matisse

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