"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Review: Mister Orange by Truus Matti

Mister Orange by Truus Matti won the 2014 Batchelder Award for books translated into English in this case from Dutch. The book was translated by Laura Watkinson. Ordinarily I don't read and review Junior books but decided to read this one as part of my own challenge to read all the 2014 ALA Youth Award books.
The year: 1945. The place: Manhattan. Mr. Orange is told from the perspective of Linus Muller, the third of six children, whose parents own a grocery store. Linus' oldest brother Albie volunteers to fight in World War II, and it's his departure that sets the story in motion. When Albie leaves, Linus takes on new responsibilities, including grocery deliveries to customers. Among his customers is a man who has come from Europe and is an artist, but Linus never quite catches his name, so he names him Mr. Orange for the crate of fruit he delivers to him each week.---Goodreads. 
Mr. Orange befriends Linus and helps him put the war into perspective. He also talks to Linus about art, though the boy doesn't learn the name of his new friend, Piet Mondrian, until after the artist's death.

The short little story piqued my interest in the famous Dutch artist and his work. After reading the book I spent some time on the web reading more about Mondrian's life and looking at copies of his work.

In real life Piet Mondrian did come to New York just prior to World War II, sponsored by a person who appreciated his art. Mondrian was delighted to be in a large city and looked at the move as a positive for his life and his art. He spent the last year of his life working on Victory Boogie-Woogie. It wasn't quite finished at the time of his death.
Mondrian, PietVictory Boogie-Woogie.1944. Geementemuseum, The Hague, Netherlands.Wikipedia, Victory Boogie-WoogieOil and Canvas on paper. Feb. 15, 2014.

Would I recommend this book to anyone? Yes. It was a quick little read and introduced me to an artist I was unfamiliar with. Will I buy it for my library? No. High school students seem to be able to sniff out junior-level books and don't want anything to do with them. I will, however, look for a biography or an art book about Mondrian.


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