Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Four Pictures by Emily Carr

Four Pictures by Emily Carr

Nicolas Debon
Graphic Novel
For ages 10 and up
Groundwood Books, 2003   ISBN: 0888995326

At the turn of the century, a great many changes were taking place in the world. Machines were chugging and puffing their way into more and more aspects of people’s lives. The class system was being stretched to such a degree that it threatened to snap explosively. Women were less and less willing to tolerate their unequal status in society. In the art world the ‘old fashioned’ realistic form of painting was being challenged by the “New Art.”

This is the story of the young Canadian painter, Emily Carr, who tried to find her way in the art world during these times. It was a struggle that taxed her health and her spirit almost to a breaking point. Her adventures as she looked for inspiration and a chance to learn more about painting took her, among other places, to a remote native village in Vancouver and to that famous power-house of the artistic world, Paris.

The book is divided into four sections, each one being represented by one of Carr’s paintings and describing a part of the painter’s life. Illustrated in the style of the comic books ‘Tintin” and ‘Asterix,’ this is a delightful, refreshing and fascinating look at a time when conventions were under great stress and when many artistic young people were at a loss as to where they belonged with their talent. An absorbing book for readers of all ages that raises questions about art and society.