The wonderful Gecko Press introduced us to the remarkable Belgian picture book creator, Leo Timmers, when they started to publish his books in English. He is incredibly talented, not only as a storyteller, but also as an artist. His illustrations are vibrant and almost seem to jump off the page, so I can’t think of a better illustrator to create a picture book about an artist whose paintings become real.
Mr. Renny is a very good artist. Whatever he paints looks just like the real thing, but no one wants to buy his paintings. He has no money, and he’s hungry. One day a mysterious stranger offers to make Mr. Renny’s dreams become real. Now whatever he paints becomes real, including a hotdog, a car, and a ship. But what happens when his friend wants to buy one of his paintings?
The Magical Life of Mr. Renny is a colourful masterpiece that children and adults alike will love. Like Leo’s other books, including Who’s Driving? and I am the King, the illustrations are bright and vibrant, and he makes them look 3D so they jump off the page. This is one of those picture books that you want to pick up again and again just to stare at the illustrations and find what you might have missed last time you looked. Leo adds in lots of little details for you to find, like the goat who has dropped her eggs or finding all of Mr. Renny’s treasures in his mansion. The story itself is funny and thoughtful and would make a great read aloud. It promotes lots of discussion about art, greed and friendship, and you could have children talking for hours about what they would paint if their paintings became real. Local author, Bill Nagelkerke has done a fantastic job of translating the book into English and making it flow so well as a read aloud. Gecko Press’ books are always beautifully designed and this is no exception, from the front cover and the inside flaps to the back cover with its frame design.
Get your hands on the work of art that is The Magical Life of Mr. Renny by Leo Timmers.
5 out of 5 stars