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MORRIS THE ARTIST by Lore Segal Kirkus Star


by Lore Segal & illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Pub Date: May 5th, 2003
ISBN: 0-374-35063-9
Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Morris is an artist; he doesn’t want to attend Benjamin’s birthday party, but his mother insists. He refuses to relinquish his gift, clutching it with both arms, preventing his fork from reaching the cake on the table or playing ball. So, he opens the present himself—a box of paints, naturally. He paints a portrait of himself; Harry, Leah, and Rosie each paint a picture; then they paint each other. Morris paints the “two yellowest suns ever seen” on Benjamin’s knees. The imaginative mixed-media illustrations transform the spartan text into an inventive, child-like scenario. Details like Morris’s oversized brown hat that he always wears, human-headed birds in the background, the size of the present that gets bigger and bigger until it’s opened, and playful perspectives add to the capriciousness of the artwork along with exaggerated body proportions of large heads and tiny-footed, bright-eyed children. Kulikov’s experience as a set and costume designer contribute to the theatricality of his creative style that is enhanced by his brightly hued palette. A fascinating debut. (Picture book. 4-7)