"Henri Rousseau wants to be an artist. Not a single person has ever told him he is talented. He's a toll collector. He's forty years old. But he buys some canvas, paint, and brushes, and starts painting anyway."
Why did Rousseau paint? Why did Rousseau keep painting even when every art critic told him it looked like "he closed his eyes and painted with his feet"? Because he loved it. This beautifully illustrated book by Markel and Hall takes the reader through the life of the French artist known for his dreamy jungle scenes painted vividly on canvas. Throughout his adult life, he decided to follow his passion despite every person he knew advising him otherwise.
My favorite moment in the book is when Rousseau loads up his work on a cart and walks to an art exhibit to show his work for the first time ever. In the illustration, the art critics standing on the steps of the art museum are towering over him and his little cart. He bravely went into the exhibition hall anyway to show his work. The first show didn't go well, and neither did the second show or the third. This is a classic story of the little engine that could. Rousseau kept at it. Eventually, he caught the eye of an artist named Pablo Picasso, and he finally gets the recognition that he deserved. recommended age: 5+