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The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau

The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau, written by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Amanda Hall, published in 2012, is a children’s picture book biography about the beloved artist Henri Rousseau.

Children may already be familiar with Rousseau’s striking and exotic jungle scenes, showing scary eyes glinting through the foliage. They may have seen his pictures in art galleries around the world but might not be aware of the creative struggle he endured throughout his life, as he fought to have his mesmerising paintings accepted and not ridiculed. We learn that Henri is ‘a toll collector. He’s forty years old. But he buys some canvas, paint and brushes, and starts painting anyway.’ Michelle Markel’s poignant text traces Henri’s journey of creative self-education and artistic achievement, while Amanda Hall’s compelling illustrations reflect and weave their own spells around Rousseau’s paintings to tell his story visually. The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau is a unique picture book and is steadily gaining a well-deserved international following.

The vivid illustrations in this picture book – created using pencil crayon and water colour inks – pay tribute to Henri Rousseau’s paintings.

This is the first of two picture books by this acclaimed author and illustrator team who have since gone on to collaborate on Out of This World: The Surreal Art of Leonora Carrington, published by Balzer & Bray / an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2019.

Email Amanda via her contact form and your enquiry will be forwarded to her licensing agent.


The Fantastic Jungles of Henri Rousseau

Written by Michelle Markel

“Rousseau’s spirit has inspired Amanda Hall: this book is a captivating homage to a lavish, playful, painterly world… Meanwhile, Markel tells his story, and lets us know how art eventually won out against establishment ridicule. – this book is the freshest of breezes.”
— The Observer/ Kate Kellaway

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Publisher: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2012

Type and extent of book: 34-page picture book

Recommended Age Range: 5 – 9 years

In-print: Yes

Rights Available: Foreign, audio, performance & merchandising

Hardcover ISBN:

  • 9780802853646

Paperback ISBN: 

  • 9780802855237

Foreign Co-editions: 

  • Rikuyosha Children & YA Books (Japan, still active)
  • Yuan-Liou Publishers (Taiwan, still active)
  • Pa’amon Books in Yan Hamelach (Israel, still active)

Awards and Selections:

  • Winner of the Art Category: Northern Lights Book Awards 2020
  • Winner of the PEN/Steven Kroll Award for Picture Book Writing for an exceptional story illustrated in a picture book published in 2012
  • Winner of the Parents’ Choice Gold Award Spring 2013 Picture Books
  • Storytelling World Resource Awards: Stories for Pre-Adolescent Listeners honors selection 2014
  • Vermont Red Clover Award Nominee 2013 – 2014
  • Capitol Choices 2013
  • Bank Street College Best Children’s Books of 2013
  • Society of Illustrators “The Original Art” Annual Exhibition 2012
  • New York Public Library: Children’s Books 2012: 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
  • Junior Library Guild selection 2012
  • com: Best Illustrated Children’s Books of the Year 2012
  • Fuse # 8: 100 Magnificent Children’s Books for 2012
  • Booklist: Top Ten Arts Books for Youth
  • The Scottish Book Trust: Featured book in Ten Artistic Reads

Video Link: Watch Online

Reviews: Read Reviews Online