A vibrant, highly entertaining inquiry into the difference between what’s real and what merely looks real.

Publishers Weekly

The Magical Life of Mr Renny

Mr. Renny’s paintings are so good that they almost appear real. But no one seems to pay them any attention—until a strange man offers to make everything that Mr. Renny paints come to life.

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  • Description

    The Magical Life of Mr. Renny is a colorful picture book about an artist who suddenly finds his paintings coming to life. An imaginative retelling of the King Midas story.

    Mr. Renny’s paintings are so good that they almost appear real. But no one seems to pay them any attention—until a strange man offers to make everything that Mr. Renny paints come to life.

    First there’s the painting of the apple, which Mr. Renny can now eat. Then there’s a huge hotdog, a new car, a cruise liner…

    This is a book containing subtle references to the work of Belgian surrealist René Magritte, the illustrations are full of clever and amusing details.


  • Book Details

    Country of Origin Belgium
    Reader Age 5-7 year
    Book Size
    ISBN

  • Reviews

    1. Swings and Roundabouts, September 2013

      The children enjoyed Mr Renny’s character and were one with him through his frustration and delight. They enjoyed the very attractive and colourful illustrations with the short understandable sentences that went with him.

    2. Playcentre Journal, June 2013

      An exciting book for pre-schoolers, The Magical Life of Mister Renny by Leo Timmers depicts fantasy versus reality and highlights the importance of creativity and the skills of an artist. The book has beautifully illustrated pictures of common and uncommon everyday objects.

    3. There’s a Book for That (Blog), December 2012

      [This story] celebrated magic and prompted us to think about what really makes us happy … Maybe Mr. Renny isn’t the first to recognize that getting everything you want is not the route to happiness… While this book did allow us to recognize that things do not make us happy, it also let us imagine for a little while some things that we would love to draw and have come to life. It gave us the chance to dream.

    4. The Children’s Bookshop, August 2012

      Mr Renny’s paintings are so good that they almost look real, but no one wants to buy them. One day a stranger offers to make everything Mr Renny paints come to life. … Mr Renny paints himself a life of luxury until his friend Rose asks to buy one of his works and he doesn’t have any real paintings left. The spell must be broken. This sumptuously illustrated book is full of clever and amusing details …

    5. Magpies, August 2012

      This is a curiously different picture book … Mr. Renny’s paintings do not sell until the day when he takes a bite of a magic apple and all his images become real … Carried away by his success, Mr. Renny paints himself more and more, bigger and bigger items … but this rampant consumerism palls and he begs to be allowed to return to painting an ordinary picture again.

    6. Around the Bookshops, August 2012

      Mr Renny – who is a really good painter – still doesn’t make enough money to support himself, so when a stranger offers to turn all his paintings (including those of food) into the real thing he agrees. Then, of course, he can’t stop wishing for more and more, and it takes the wisdom of a small girl to make him see what his real vocation is. Bright pictures and a message to think about.

    7. School Library Journal (US), December 2012

      This is a well-told tale with vibrant, eye-catching, colorful illustrations that will engage readers. The story will engender some wonderful discussion about instant gratification versus working at something you really love. This deceptively simple book will have a lot of classroom uses.

    8. Hastings Leader, August 2012

      My first reaction to this week’s children’s book was a big smile.

    9. The Book Bag (UK), August 2012

      Perfect to share with boys and girls, especially those who are keen on painting too, this is a lovely, magical story.

    10. Booklist (US), November 2012

      A breezy variant on the King Midas legend.

    11. kiwifamilies.co.nz, October 2012

      A lovely, lovely book to gaze at! The attention to detail in the images is delicious and if Mr. Renny is half the artist that Leo Timmers is, he should make millions! Another glorious production from Gecko Press.

    12. Parents in Touch (UK), August 2012

      Absolutely crammed with intricate and fascinating detail, really eye-catching

    13. Kirkus Reviews (US), August 2012

      Kids won’t recognize the homage to Ren‚ Magritte or the elements of King Midas and ‘The Fisherman and His Wife,’ they’ll just be busy giggling over the animated images.

    14. My Best Friends Are Books blog, August 2012

      A colourful masterpiece that children and adults alike will love. …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 … The story itself is funny and thoughtful and would make a great read aloud. It promotes lots of discussion about art, greed and friendship…

    15. Seven Impossible Things blog (US), July 2012

      There are lots of picture books that address the notion of being careful what you wish for, but Timmers vibrantly-colored, larger-than-life spreads make this one stand out, particularly if you’re interested, as I am, in seeing what illustrators over the pond, so to speak, are doing. His artwork bursts with energy and color.

    16. NZ Listener, July 2012

      Wild and vibrant.

    17. ForeWord Reviews (US), July 2012

      This is a lovely book; Leo Timmers’s artwork is cleanly rendered but packed with details. … The relationship between perception and reality is played with to good effect … The moral, which pits material gain against creativity and friendship, is thoughtfully spelled out … It’s a story with heart and humor, as well as a visual delight.

    18. Widge Reviews, July 2012

      There are lessons in this book about friendship and greed, creativity and art. The illustrations and strong graphics are fun.

    19. Bookman Beattie, July 2012

      An imaginative retelling of the King Midas story…A book containing subtle references to the work of Belgian surrealist Ren‚ Magritte, the illustrations are full of clever and amusing details.

    20. Publishers Weekly, July 2012

      A vibrant, highly entertaining inquiry into the difference between what’s real and what merely looks real.


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