Our BLG reader Magnus brought us a story that celebrated magic and prompted us to think about what really makes us happy: The Magical Life of Mr. Renny by Leo Timmers.
Mr. Renny is an extremely talented artist. But he cannot sell any of his work at the market. He is so hungry and desperate that he wished his painting of an apple didn’t just look real but was real so that he could eat it. (“I’ll pay him a hundred if I could,” one student muttered) A stranger appears and poof, the apple was real. Mr. Renny looked around, all of his paintings sprang to life. So imagine what this meant . . .
First, Mr. Renny fed his belly. He painted a hotdog, a milkshake and a multi-layered cake! “He could paint himself a restaurant,” suggested one student. But soon, Mr. Renny started to think beyond. A car to help him travel Europe. “Whoa, that car became alive!” And then a ship to sail the sea. But soon he wanted to get back to shore to paint more. He couldn’t stop thinking of all the things he could make real. Paint, paint, paint. Mansions, limousines, a silk suit, cavier, a blimp . . . (Magnus had to explain a lot of words new to us “What’s a canvas?” “. . . cavier?” “. . . a mansion?”
But then Mr. Renny had a visitor. Rose from the market came to see him and wanted to buy a painting. He had nothing to sell her. It seemed he was no longer a painter. But rather a collector. Rose inspired Mr. Renny. He brought back the stranger and made a request.
“I want to paint an ordinary picture again. One that doesn’t come to life.”
The stranger isn’t surprised. Maybe Mr. Renny isn’t the first to recognize that getting everything you want is not the route to happiness. 🙂 Mr. Renny gets his wish and all of his riches disappear. He happily sits down at his easel and paints Rose the perfect painting.
“You’re back!” Rose smiled.
And he was.
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. A few moments of wishing on a Wednesday morning felt kind of fun!
Student Reviewers Respond:
Kala: When it was almost at the end he made all the real things disappear. After when he painted nothing came back alive.
Arianne: I like when he made a rose. I would have painted a kitten. I will paint a horse. I will paint a dog. I will paint a pig and a barbie.
Andrew: My favourite part was when all Mr. Renny paint came to life. A stranger came. It was not real. Why did no one buy Renny’s paintings? I would have painted a gelato store because I love ice cream!
Kevin: My favourite part was when Mr. Renny give a rose for Rose. I wouldn’t paint a monster because it is too scary.
Ashley: Whatever he painted came to life. I would paint a house and it would have five rooms. He could paint skipping rope and a school and shoes, a bike, a big car and a big Christmas tree.
Vicky: My favourite part was when Mr. Renny painted a rose for Rose. A strange man turned Mr. Renny’s paintings in to life. I would have painted a limo because I could drive in it.
Kelvin: When the man had real magic powers that is my favourite. When the man snap his fingers the painting came to life. Rose said you are not a painter anymore. That was sad.
Ava: Whatever he painted came to life. The man snapped his fingers and all of his paintings came to life. It was magical.
Heman: My favourite part was when Mr. Renny’s paint came to life. I would have painted my own castle because I could have my own room. Why did nobody buy Mr. Renny’s paintings?
Jorja: He is painting a rose to Rose. The paintings came to life and the painting was magic.
Kassidy: I like when things came in to life. I would have painted a dog and a cat if my paintings came to life. I like when he painted a rose for Rose. It was silly when the elephant had a stoller with some water melons.
Pheonix: My favourite part was the part that was he turn all his paintings to life.
Giovanni: I like the part that made things made to life. I would paint a monster truck. I want to play one.
Brian: My favourite part was when whatever he painted came to alive. Why are paintings so expensive? I would paint a Ms. Gelson because I like her.