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Matthew's Dream (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

Press: Turtleback Books; Turtleback School & Library ed. edition (March 7, 1995)
Publication Date:1995-3
Author Name:Lionni, Leo


A visit to an art museum inspires a young mouse to become a painter.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3-- A classy, classic Lionni mouse fable with themes like those in Frederick (1967) or Geraldine, the Music Mouse (1979, both Pantheon). 
Here, too, the joy, exuberance, and service of an artist's calling are made clear to the very young.
A poor mouse couple lives in a dusty attic where they have great hopes for their only child.
When they ask Matthew what he wants to be, however, he is uncertain--until the day his class goes on a field trip to the art museum.
The paintings make a profound impression on him, and they clarify his vocation; he is to be an artist.
In one memorable turn of a page readers see just what the tiny dreamer has seen, as Matthew's imagination transforms the dreary junk of his attic corner into a Picasso-like work of art.
Both the torn paper collages and the reproductions of museum " mouse terpieces" in various painting styles invite children to look and look again.
A strong, fine book by an illustrator who, like Matthew, paints canvases "filled with the shapes and colors of joy." --Anna Biagioni Hart, Sherwood Regional Library, Alexandria, VACopyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“A classy, classic fable . 
by an illustrator who, like Matthew, paints canvases ‘filled with the shapes and colors of joy.’”—School Library Journal (Starred Review)“Inviting, brilliant pages .
offer a gentle introduction to the missions of art and the artist.”—The Horn Book Magazine

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

"One of Lionni's familiar-looking mice lives in a junk-strewn attic. 
When Matthew visits an art gallery, he is entranced.
That night Matthew dreams about walking hand in hand through 'playful patches of color.' He awakens, his inspiration stays with him and he goes on to paint great things.
Lionni uses familiar collage and color techniques, but what colors! He employs bright, rich hues that stand out smartly against white backgrounds."--"School Library Journal (starred)

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Leo Lionni wrote and illustrated more than 40 picture books, including four Caldecott Honor Books. 
He died in 1999 at the age of 89.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Children's Books,Animals,Mice, Hamsters, Guinea Pigs & Squirrels,Arts, Music & Photography,Art,Growing Up & Facts of Life,Family Life,Sleep

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Comment List (Total:16)

  •     I thought this was a children's book. It IS, but it has some sketchy material for kids, and I wasn't comfortable gifting this to a little boy I knew (bought it specifically for him because his name is Matthew like the little mouse), so it was a wasted purchase. The overall idea of the book is great for kids, specific details are NOT for kids. I don't recommend this book unless you are an unusual adult that loves reading beginning books on your own. In that case, by all means buy the book!

  •     Great little story

  •     I wanted to use this book for an introductory art project lesson for Kindergarten and it worked perfectly. A great addition to my art classroom library.

  •     Leo Lionni books are classics and I am sad that I only recently found them. All of his books inspire the imagination of children and get them thinking about moral, or difficult...

  •     The book was purchased as a gift. It was delivered in a timely fashion and looked very good.

  •     Perfect.

  •     Off the cuff, too conceited, leans to the left in my opinion

  •     Matthew finds himself, his talent and love for drawing after a visit to the museum. An inspiring story for children who can see how having a dream helps us to do something for...

  •     I f you are a Frederick or Alexander mouse fan you will love this story. Beautiful pictures and a sweet story make this an enjoyable book for ages 3-9.

  •     Good book and good illustrations but too many adults theme. I think some children can handle adult themes depending on the child. You have to browse through this one before you get it for your child to see if the story is age appropriate. If your child can handle adult themes then by all means get it, if they are impressionable and can't don't get it.

  •     My 2.5 Year olds love the books "A Color of His Own" and "It's Mine" by this author. However, this one is a dud. Both the story and art work are boring for them. We have read it a couple of times but it is certainly not a book that they choose from their little library often.

  •     When Matthew's class visits the local museum, he finds the answer to that age-old question: "What do you want to be when you grown up?" Having found his muse, the protagonist sees his world through the eyes of an artist from that moment on. Lionni's delightful mixed media collages envision mouse-centric works of art that mimic icons of fine art. Matthew's Dream can be used to introduce students to the beauty of portraits, landscapes, still lifes, impressionism, and cubism as well as the works of Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, and Joan Miró. At the secondary level, Lionni's simple tale serves as an entrée to art-inspired historical fiction.

  •     Although the subject matter of this book initially appeared to be for an older child, it is clear that the text and illustrations appeal as strongly to the younger set. Ever since learning of Matthew the Mouse's determination to become a painter (in contravention of his parents desires that he become a M.D.) my two-year-old son (also named Matthew) has been wielding his paintbrush often and furiously. The illustrations are aesthetically pleasing and clarify the text perfectly. The text, while simple in form, provides excellent vocabulary builders (e.g., use of "embrace" rather than "hug") and also gives the reader the chance to discuss with the child many ideas and activities that take place inside and outside the home. All in all a wonderful find; a story that truly respects a child's right to follow his or her own dreams.

  •     One of the best stories for introducing painting to Pre-K children. It's Leo Lionni...that says it all.

  •     I have yet to encounter a Lionni book that I did not like and this one is certainly no exception. This writer and artist is no longer with us, but his legacy as passed down through his books for children lives with it and I fully expect it to linger much, much longer.Matthew's Dream is the story of a small mouse; a very poor mouse, living in an old cluttered, dusty and shambled attic with his parents. These are poor mice. Mom and Dad have asked Matthew what he wants to do with his life and his only answer is that he does not know, but he does want to see the world. Can a poor attic mouse achieve his dreams? Can he see the world, and if so, how?One day Matthew and his classmates visit an art museum for the first time. The world changes for our little mouse. Here on the walls he is taken to places he never realized existed. The pictures of food made him drool. He gazed on Kings and other nobility, visited places and gaze upon sights he had only dream of. Matthew, we could say, sort of went into sensory overload! Matthews life was changed forever.Upon his return home the first thing he saw was his clutter corner. The dream he had been having at the museum (where a very special little girl mouse played an important role) had faded....but had it! Blinking back tears of disappointment, Matthew began to change if my magic. The messy heap suddenly took on new shapes, new colors, and new dimensions! Matthew was transformed. He immediately informed his parents that now he knew what he wanted to be. It was an artist!This is another of the books Leo Lionni produced whose main thrust was to encourage children to see beyond their ordinary dreary lives...to see the possible within the impossible. This is a strong message indeed.As usually the text in this particular work is near perfect. In simple parable mode, Lionni has given us much food for thought and through his amazing, bright and vibrant art stimulates not only the intellect of the child, but also the possibility of their creativeness. Handled right and discussed with the child as this book is being read, the adult reader can quite possible stimulate a long need aspect of the child's life; often hidden but never the less lurking their. Often times this wonder, a wonder I feel we are all certainly born with, needs only a small prod to be released.As always, this author has skillfully pushed, every so gently, the vocabulary envelope and has introduced new words and new word usage into his stories...not at a level which is burdensome or intimidating to the child, but rather mildly challenging in a fun sort of way. Her we have the child expose to art, thought, imagination, vocabulary building and all while having a great deal of fun. Can you ask more from a children's book?Don BlankenshipThe Ozarks

  •     Beautiful book


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