Promise Angels is dedicated to bringing you great books at great prices. Whether you read for entertainment, to learn, or for literacy - you will find what you want at promiseangels.com!
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 11.5" Width: 8.6" Height: 0.25" Weight: 0.4 lbs.
Release Date Sep 27, 2004
ISBN 1931561958 ISBN13 9781931561952
Availability 0 units.
More About Kurt Futterer
Kurt Futtere has been a teacher and school director for over thirty years. His books have won various prizes in Germany. Emile was awarded the Troisdorfer Bilderbuchpreis 2000, the most prestigious award for picture books in Germany.
The artwork in this book is a treat in and of itself. If you love cats, appreciate fine art, or just enjoy a story that reminds you to bring joy and color into your life, then Emile is a wonderful read for both kids and adults.
Futterer Lays It On Thick Oct 18, 2005
Those who cannot read German may thankIngrid MacGillis for translating "Emile," originally published in 1999 as "Emile-Eine bunte Katzengeschichte." No, this is not a sociological treatise about the Katzengeschichte; rather, it is a story of a bored bourgeois cat, illustrated in heavily textured oils. Emile's slightly over-protective and predictable owners do not let him outside--he might get dirty, and besides, say the humans, "outside, there are too may dogs." Initially drawn outside by a hugely vivid butterfly, Emile disobeys and wanders outside--all in search of color. In the French countryside, Emile meets three like-minded color-fiends, and together they paw-paint the entire inside of a house!
Flutterer's painting style seems to vary from page to page: Here and there we see fairly abstract paintings all angles and blobs of messy color and varying degrees of perspective, others more conventional, but all of them sharing heavy layering of bright, contrasting paint. Flutterer also uses vertical lines, a la Van Gogh, as well as extreme close-ups of faces to heighten the emotional impact.
The house that the cats paint "belongs to a painter named Vincent." The flabbergasted painter, who clearly resembles Van Gogh and is surrounded by slightly wavy verticals, is quoted: "'Crazy, said Vincent, over and over again, "Just crazy." This is either a fairly cheap joke, easy and insensitive, or else Flutterer has somehow transformed Van Gogh into a French beatnik. At any rate, in more imaginative language, Flutterer writes that the painter cats "polka-dotted [Emile] with all the colors in Vincent's paint jars. Emile began to feel like a butterfly."
The now butterflies-are-free Emile feels obliged to return to his caretaker family. However, the "shocked" man and woman punish this unexplained loyalty (or whatever motivates Emile's return); the cat is "sent to his basket without any food." All of this is played straight, there's no ironic overtone or melodrama to soften the people's unmistakable cruelty.
The resolution comes quickly, on the very next page: "But it wasn't long before the man and the woman relaxed and began to see Emile through different eyes." They decide that Emile is happier now, that they were "color blind," and that the cat, who "had brought color into the house," could now play outside. Emile's influence is so strong, in fact, that the man and woman not only buy colorful flowers, but joyously paint the gray house using bright colors. Emile bursts out of the center of the last page, his arms raised in triumph, and one eye winking, as if to say that color and fun and spontaneity have finally won. Yet, on this very important last page, Flutterer paints the man and woman as if they were brainwashed. There's no ease or fluidity in their raised arms as they paint, and their expression look forced and unnatural. The man's smiling face, which looks fake and almost painted-on, doesn't hide the dull, almost hypnotized look in his eyes. Flutterer's pretty but unconvincing illustration suggest that you can teach a cat new tricks, but not the people with whom he lives. Although most of the oils nicely replicate Van Gogh's style, and the playful cat painting the house sequence is enjoyable, this remains a somewhat odd book that just misses the right tone.