Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

When Emily Carr Met Woo

When Emily Carr Met Woo

Monica Kulling
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Pajama Press, 2014   ISBN: 978-1927485408

Emily Carr was a painter, and the artwork that she created was different enough that the people in Victoria, the town where Emily lived, did not really know what to think of her. The fact that she walked around town with a “baby stroller filled with puppies” also made them think that she was “a strange bird.” She loved animals and shared her home with dogs, cats, a parrot, and a rat. Then Emily saw a lonely monkey in a pet shop and the monkey, whom she called Woo, joined Emily’s unusual family.

   Everyone soon learned that Woo was a prankster. She enjoyed teasing the other animals in the household and she also enjoyed teasing Emily’s two sisters, who both thought the monkey was just too much; but Emily loved her mischievous pet anyway. She did not even mind when Woo stole little things, which she put her treasure box.

   One day Emily bought a camper and she decided that another trip to the forest was in order. She needed time to paint, and the best place to do this was out in the countryside among the great trees. While Emily packed for the trip, Woo found “a new treasure” and she snuck away with it. Unfortunately, Woo decided to sample the treasure, which was a tube of yellow paint. Woo poisoned herself with the toxic paint and there was only so much that the vet could do for her. Poor Emily was beside herself with worry. She could not bear to lose her dear little companion.

   In this charming picture book we see how one of Canada’s great painters shared her life with a naughty monkey who could not seem to keep out of trouble. Often creative people develop a special relationship with the animals who keep them company as they compose music, write, paint, or sculpt. Children will appreciate why Emily loved her little monkey friend so much, even though she was often a nuisance.

   At the back of the book the reader will find more information about Emily Carr’s life.