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The Sleeping Gypsy
by Mordicai Gerstein
Mordicai Gerstein, Illustrator

Reinforced | 32 pages | 9 x 11 | US$ 16.95
ISBN: 9780823421428 | 07-30-2016

Also available as an ebook.

Grade: SECOND | Age: 4 to 8

Themes: Art & Architecture, Animals/Fiction
Recommendations: K, *H, PW, SLJ, C

CCSS Codes:
SL.3.1, 1c, 1d, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
RL.3.1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10
RF.3.3, 3b, 3c, 3d, 4, 4a, 4b, 4c
W.3.4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10
L.3.3, 3a, 4, 4a, 4c, 5, 5a, 5b, 5c, 6

About the Book

The characters in Henri Rousseau's The Sleeping Gypsy inspired Mordicai Gerstein to create an elegant, beautifully illustrated story about them.

A girl, alone in the desert, lies on the sand and sleeps. But she is not alone for long. A lizard, a rabbit, a turtle and other animals scrutinize her when a lion leaps into the scene and claims her for his own.

A silhouette approaches from the distance. He introduces himself as Henri Rousseau, the dreamer of this dream, who plans to paint a picture of it. The animals pose for the artist but criticize his work with comments like "you've made my nose too big." So the artist removes complainers one by one from the picture until only the girl and the lion remain.

Children and adults will be entranced by the enchanting work, a culmination of years of Mordicai Gerstein's brilliant artistry, and art aficionados of all ages will step into a luminous rendering of the possibilities Henri Rousseau's painting explores.


★"Neatly conceived and wittily executed."The Horn Book, starred review

“A Caldecott-winning author and illustrator offers a master class in art appreciation with this inspired imagining of the creation of a great painting.”—Chicago Tribune

“In reproducing the artist’s dream, Gerstein evokes the same surrealistic nature of the painting, but his pesky animals lighten the tone. . . . This title offers children a story and information about an important Western artist and his work.” —School Library Journal

“Gerstein interprets Rousseau’s painting style both faithfully and freely, and his story suggests that there’s nothing inevitable about the famous works of art we think we know."—Publishers Weekly

Classroom Discussion Questions with CCSS:

1. Make connections between the ideas in the book and the painting, The Sleeping Gypsy by Henri Rousseau. What is the author's purpose? RL.3-4.1, 2, 7

2. Retell the tale told by Gerstein about The Sleeping Gypsy. RL.3-4.2

3. How do words and phrases in the story impact the meaning and tone? Find examples of how the author uses figurative language to add layers to the text. RL.3-4.4

4. Analyze the structure of The Sleeping Gypsy. How do specific sentences, paragraphs and scenes relate to each other and to the whole? RL.3-4.1, 5

Educators' Guide
THE SLEEPING GYPSY Poster Educator's Guide
Downloadable poster and educator's guide