Susan Vande Griek, Author, Pascal Milelli, Illustrator, Susan Vande Griek, Author , illus. by Pascal Milelli. Groundwood $15.95 (24p) ISBN 978-0-88899-449-3

Vande Griek (A Gift for Ampato) pays tribute to her compatriot, Canadian artist Emily Carr (1871–1945), by imagining the experience of the children to whom Carr taught drawing and painting in the early 1900s. Her text is adulatory but trades on stereotypes: the art teacher, her hair in a messy bun, "danced and sang her way through the room... getting us to make paint fly and paper come alive." (Most of Carr's biographers agree that she was cantankerous.) While the images can be keen (an office building is filled with "typewriters talking business and tongues babbling news"), they don't build into a commanding text. Neither Miss Carr nor the narrator has personality, serving instead as a channel for the author's awe at the revelatory powers of art (at the end, the children "went out to see with eyes that were wide"). Milelli's (Rainbow Bay) oil paintings, however, possess a shining luminosity, whether depicting the classroom or excursions to the harbor. His use of color breathes life into the author's hackneyed themes. Ages 4-7. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/25/2002
Release date: 04/01/2002
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