Art has always been an integral part of my life so when I read this book for the first time, I was delighted. It’s very silly and endearing. Hawkes is a great storyteller.
In Remy and Lulu, Lulu meets a painter named Remy and they become friends. Remy is VERY confident in his art and claims to paint the “essence of a person, not their likeness” (his art is a blur) but his patrons are always disappointed and angered by his art! One day during a session, Remy stops to rest and Lulu picks up a brush and takes off painting. At first his patrons are angry but then they spot the tiny, meticulous masterpiece in the corner and are ecstatic! They thank Remy and pay him double and he’s reassured that painting from his heart will lead to great results (and money in his pocket and food in their bellies!)
Remy (and Lulu) becomes very famous but he has bad eyesight, so he never notices Lulu’s paintings UNTIL he has a commission from an optometrist who gifts him with new glasses. Finally his eyes are opened to the truth of their fame and he is angry and bitter and forgets about his good friend. Luckily, Remy comes to realize just how important friendship is when Lulu helps him find himself again.
Kevin Hawkes’ paintings are great; the scenes of the French countryside are beautiful and inviting. His style stands out with its bold color and strokes but so does Hannah E. Harrison’s. Her miniature, highly detailed animal paintings are gorgeous. Harrison’s oil paintings add something special to the book, similar to how Lulu is the best business partner and friend Remy could ask for. Check out her book Bernice Gets Carried Away which is also AWESOME and highlights her detailed style.
Be sure to read this story with your little budding artist and head out to the country side to paint like Remy and Lulu!
P.S. The story actually begins on the endpapers (when you first open the book)! Look at Lulu’s sad expression as the beautiful paintings are taken away. 😦
Recommended for: All Ages
Great for: Humor, Art, Friendship, Determination, Dogs, Animals, Dreams, France
Book Info: Remy and Lulu written by Kevin Hawkes/Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes and Hannah E. Harrison, 2014 Alfred A. Knopf (Random House Children’s Books), ISBN: 9780449810859