Mister 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 Mister René paints come to life. First there’s the painting of the apple, which Mister René can now eat, then there’s a huge hamburger, a new car, a cruise liner... Mister René paints himself a life of luxury – until Rose comes to ask if she can buy one of his paintings. But he doesn’t have any real paintings left! The spell must be broken – and soon! A book containing subtle references to the work of Belgian surrealist René Magritte, and full of clever and amusing details.
Is it an apple? Or is it a painting of an apple? Belgian artist Timmers (Crow) pays tribute to Belgian artist René Magritte in a vibrant, highly entertaining inquiry into the difference between what’s real and what merely looks real. Mr. Renny, a dog who sells his paintings at the market, is offered a shot at endless wealth by a bowler-hatted stranger who makes Mr. Renny’s paintings turn instantly into the real thing. Tempted like King Midas, Mr. Renny paints desirable objects as fast as he can—a small, two-tone car, a four-tier cake, a dirigible. Then his old friend Rose discovers he’s sold out: “So you’re no longer a painter?” she sniffs. “What a pity, Mr. Renny. In that case, I’ll be on my way.” Is Mr. Renny a real artist? Or has he become someone who only looks like an artist? The translation is solid, the pacing is brisk, but it’s Timmers’s arch spreads that take the cake—Mr. Renny creates a delirious orgy of desire, from giant waffles to a supersize Cadillac Coupe de Ville and an ocean liner. Ages 4–up. – Publishers Weekly