Book review: Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear and Isabelle Arsenault

Book Reviews

(Par ici en français!!)

Yes, yes, another Isabelle Arsenault book! I enjoy her illustrations so much, I just couldn’t resist when I saw that her books were available on my online library (how great is this service by the way?). If you’ve been here before, you might have stumbled upon my reviews for Jane, the Fox and I; L’Oiseau de Collette; and Louis parmis les spectres. This week, I’m sharing Virginia Wolf written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault.

The title of this book really intrigued me because I loved reading the book A Room’s of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf, the celebrated author. This children’s book is loosely based on Virginia Woolf’s relationship with her sister, but makes it into a charming and touching story about sadness, friendship and care. In Virginia Wolf however, young Virginia is made into a wolf that retreats in her bed and makes everything sad and heavy. Her younger sister creates a world of flower and sweets to coax the wolf out and bring back joy and happiness to the house. I thought this story was a clever way to describe depression and melancholy to children as well as a few tools to help them cope with difficult emotions.

Once again, the illustrations are wonderfully textured and detailed. It is such a pleasure to explore the worlds that are presented in this book. The contrasts between the sad greys and happy colours cannot fail to lift the reader’s spirits. The imaginary universe created by the younger sister is filled with brilliant flowers, cute animals and delicious cakes. Who wouldn’t want to jump right in? I really enjoyed the full page illustrations that take you right into the story. The many little details make you want to spend a lot of time observing each page. I also particularly liked how some pages were filled with collections of objects and imaginary perspectives. It made the book more interesting and less linear. With a lot of sensibility and finesse, both the story and illustrations work together to construct an immersive and joyful experience.

Overall, I think this book is a wonderful story of sisterly love, friendship and support. I can be a wonderful tool to discuss difficult emotions with children and tips to help them cope with those. Besides all of this, the book is wonderfully illustrated. You’ll want to turn page after page and will be taken into its wonderfully colourful universe. The story, very sweet and interesting, will capture the attention of all readers with no difficulty. If you want to know more, I found this reading-along for the book.

Virginia Wolf, by Kyo Maclear and Isabelle Arsenault, Kids Can Press


 

Book review: Virginia Wolf par Kyo Maclear et Isabelle Arsenault

Oui, oui, un autre livre d’Isabelle Arsenault ! J’aime tellement ses illustrations que je n’ai pas pu résister quand j’ai vu que ses livres étaient disponibles sur ma bibliothèque en ligne (ce service est génial, n’est-ce pas ?). Si vous êtes déjà passés par ici, vous êtes peut-être tombés sur mes critiques de Jane, le renard and moi, L’oiseau de Collette et Louis parmis les spectres. Cette semaine, je partage Virginia Wolf écrit par Kyo Maclear et illustré par Isabelle Arsenault.

Le titre de ce livre m’a vraiment intriguée car j’ai adoré lire le livre Une chambre à soi de Virginia Woolf, la célèbre auteure. Ce livre pour enfants est librement inspiré de la relation de Virginia Woolf avec sa sœur, mais en fait une histoire charmante et touchante sur la tristesse, l’amitié et la tendresse. Dans Virginia Wolf cependant, la jeune Virginia est transformée en un loup qui se retire dans son lit et rend tout triste et lourd. Sa jeune sœur crée un monde de fleurs et de sucreries pour faire sortir le loup et ramener la joie et le bonheur dans la maison. J’ai trouvé que cette histoire était une façon intelligente de décrire la dépression et la mélancolie aux enfants, ainsi que quelques outils pour les aider à faire face aux émotions difficiles.

Une fois encore, les illustrations sont merveilleusement texturées et détaillées. C’est un tel plaisir d’explorer les mondes qui sont présentés dans ce livre. Les contrastes entre les gris tristes et les couleurs vives ne manquent pas de remonter le moral du lecteur. L’univers imaginaire créé par la jeune sœur est rempli de fleurs éclatantes, d’animaux mignons et de délicieux gâteaux. Qui n’aurait pas envie d’y plonger ? J’ai beaucoup apprécié les illustrations pleine page qui vous plongent dans l’histoire. Les nombreux petits détails vous donnent envie de passer beaucoup de temps à observer chaque page. J’ai aussi particulièrement bien aimé la façon dont certaines pages sont remplies de collections d’objets et de perspectives imaginaires. Cela rendait le livre plus intéressant et moins linéaire. Avec beaucoup de sensibilité et de finesse, l’histoire et les illustrations travaillent ensemble pour construire une expérience immersive et joyeuse.

Dans l’ensemble, je pense que ce livre est une merveilleuse histoire d’amour, d’amitié et de soutien entre sœurs. Il peut être un merveilleux outil pour discuter avec les enfants d’émotions difficiles et de conseils pour les aider à y faire face. En plus de tout cela, le livre est merveilleusement illustré. Vous aurez envie de tourner page après page et serez emporté dans son univers merveilleusement coloré. L’histoire, très douce et intéressante, saura capter l’attention de tous les lecteurs sans difficulté. Si vous voulez en savoir plus, j’ai trouvé cette lecture du livre.

Virginia Wolf, par Kyo Maclear et Isabelle Arsenault, La Pastèque

Weekly news: July 7, 2021

weekly news

(This is a news letter I sent out. If you’d like to receive fresh news every week, sign up here! The full newsletter contains surprises and is delivered once a week to your mailbox. Et elle est également en français!)

I hope you are all doing well!

This week, I’ve been working on zine #2, and I’m almost done! I spent yesterday and this morning painting this rose. I was once again very intimidated by this flower, but I realized that by going one petal at a time, it was a pretty fun and relaxing process. There is a life-lesson here somewhere…

I’m really excited to see this zine come together! It’s such a fun process to be making a little book. I already have the idea ready for zine #3. I guess the hardest thing is getting started, and then zine ideas just come one after the other!

New in store

My booklet on the Wheel of the Year regrouping all my sabbath illustrations and their recipes has arrived and is waiting for you at the boutique!

Inspiration

This week, I’m sharing a childhood favourite!

Head over to the blog for more details!

A small treat…

This is so much fun to make and eat! You can customize these little folded kimbap with your favourite ingredients. My favourite combination: rice, pan fried tofu with maple syrup-soy sauce glaze, avocado, lettuce and kimchi!

Book review: In a Jar, by Deborah Marcero

Book Reviews

(Par ici en français!!)

This week, I’m excited to share the book In a Jar by author and illustrator Deborah Marcero. I was very excited to read this book, and even more excited when I learned that a second book was coming in February 2022.

I instantly fell in love with the illustration style of this book! I love repetitive patterns and motifs, and this book is filled with just that. I also particularly enjoyed that most of the book is set around nature and small treasures. It was so much fun turning each page and discovering new patterns and compositions. One thing that I found that was particularly well done is the use of light and shadow. Shadows particularly brought a lot of life and dimmension to each illustration.

As if gorgeous illustrations were not enough, the story follows the cutest bunny Llewellyn. I related a lot with Llewellyn as he is a collector of natural treasures like leaves, feathers and seeds, but also light, stars and thunderstorms. Like all collectors, he soon discovers that collections are meant to be shared with friends. With his new friend, Llewellyn collects many new treasures as the seasons go by. It is a wonderfully sweet story about friendship, nature and sharing. It made me so happy to read and reread this book. Each page is a new discovery of the everyday wonders that surround us and the joys of friendship.

Overall, this book is one of my favourites from 2021. It was wonderfully illustrated, the story was sweet and cute, and it was just a great read! I loved getting lost in each page and surrounded with lovely repetitive motifs with Llewellyn. I think this book will make all readers happy, and turn many into avid collectors themselves! If you want to take a look yourself, here is a video of the author reading the book.

In a Jar, by Deborah Marcero, Penguin Random House


 

Book review: In a Jar par Deborah Marcero

(Au moment de l’écriture de ce billet, ce livre n’est pas encore traduit en français malheureusement.)

Cette semaine, je suis ravie de partager le livre In a Jar de l’auteure et illustratrice Deborah Marcero. J’étais très enthousiaste à l’idée de lire ce livre, et encore plus quand j’ai appris qu’un deuxième livre allait sortir en février 2022.

Je suis immédiatement tombée amoureuse du style d’illustration de ce livre ! J’adore les motifs répétitifs, et ce livre en est rempli. J’ai aussi particulièrement apprécié que la majeure partie du livre se déroule autour de la nature et de ses petits trésors. C’était tellement amusant de tourner chaque page et de découvrir de nouveaux motifs et compositions. Une chose que j’ai trouvée particulièrement bien faite est l’utilisation de la lumière et des ombres. Les ombres, en particulier, donnent beaucoup de vie et de relief à chaque illustration.

Comme si les superbes illustrations ne suffisaient pas, l’histoire suit le plus mignon des lapins, Llewellyn. Je me suis beaucoup attachée à Llewellyn car il est un collectionneur de trésors naturels comme les feuilles, les plumes et les graines, mais aussi la lumière, les étoiles et les orages. Comme tous les collectionneurs, il découvre rapidement que les collections sont faites pour être partagées avec des amis. Avec sa nouvelle amie, Llewellyn rassemble de nombreux nouveaux trésors au fil des saisons. C’est une histoire merveilleusement douce sur l’amitié, la nature et le partage. J’ai été très heureuse de lire et relire ce livre. Chaque page est une nouvelle découverte des merveilles quotidiennes qui nous entourent et des joies de l’amitié.

Dans l’ensemble, ce livre est l’un de mes préférés de 2021. Il est merveilleusement illustré, l’histoire est douce et mignonne, et c’est tout simplement une lecture formidable ! J’ai adoré me perdre dans chaque page et être entourée de jolis motifs avec Llewellyn. Je pense que ce livre fera le bonheur de tous les lecteurs, et en transformera beaucoup en collectionneurs passionnés ! Si vous voulez y jeter un coup d’œil vous-même, voici une vidéo de l‘auteure lisant le livre.

In a Jar, by Deborah Marcero, Penguin Random House

Weekly news: June 30, 2021

weekly news

(This is a news letter I sent out. If you’d like to receive fresh news every week, sign up here! The full newsletter contains surprises and is delivered once a week to your mailbox. Et elle est également en français!)

I hope you are all doing well!

This week, I’ve been doing a lot of admin work, printing out receipts, ordering some very exciting new products featuring my illustrations, reorganizing, going through my listings… all little tasks that somehow need to be done but always get pushed back.

I’ve also started working on my second zine! It’s very fun and so exciting to have this new format to explore. I’ll share more with you soon!

In the meantime, I thought I’d share this page from my upcoming booklet with you! As the elders are flowering around this time of year here, I thought some of you might want to give this a try! It’s delicious and really fun to make! (see my June video for this too!)

New in store

Inspiration

Such a lovely book!

Head over to the blog for more details!

Youtube

My month of June!

A small treat…

Wasps are not my favourite animal ever, but look at this!

Book review: We Are Water Protectors, by Carole Lindstrom and Michaela Goade

Book Reviews

(Par ici en français!!)

The books I reserved through the inter-library loans have finally made their way to me, and I’m so excited to share this one with you. We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Michaela Goade is a wonderful book to introduce children to First Nation People’s values and beliefs as well as to environmental protection issues and movements. It is such a beautiful and important book!

You know me, I can simply not pass illustrated books that feature watercolours! This one did not disappoint! It is rather with vivid enchantment that I discovered the work of Alaskan illustrator Michaela Goade. Each page of the book is filled with rich colours and incredible compositions featuring lovely textures and intricate patterns. It was a real pleasure to explore each one and to marvel at the details and techniques the illustrator presents. The dense colours also help create a magical universe that comes alive and unfurls with the reading. This is such a beautiful storybook! There is something truly magical in the way the colours and patterns come together to sweep the readers into the story.

The message of the book is also so important and relevant. Carole Lindstrom lends her voice to the Standing Rock movement and to indigenous groups defending nature from destruction through this book. This book presents Indigenous People’s values and beliefs in a way that is both poignant and easy to understand for children readers. It is also rich in many teachings, while remaining positive and fascinating.

Overall, I think this book will enrich any reader’s life through its relevant and captivating story and through the magically rich illustrations. One can only leave this book feeling full with wonder and a desire to do things differently. I hope this book finds its way to many families and classrooms where it is sure to serve as a great basis for conversation and reflection. As both the author and illustrator are members of Indigenous communities, it is also a great opportunity to feature and celebrate important voices. I really hope you will pick this book up as I am sure it will not fail in charming and enchanting you as it did me.

We are Water Protectors, Carole Lindstrom and Michaela Goade, Roaring Book Press


 

Book review: Nous sommes les protecteurs de l’eau par Carole Lindstrom et Michaela Goade

Les livres que j’ai réservés par le biais des prêts interbibliothèques sont enfin arrivés et je suis ravie de partager celui-ci avec vous. Nous sommes les protecteurs de l’eau de Carole Lindstrom et illustré par Michaela Goade est un livre merveilleux pour présenter aux enfants les valeurs et les croyances des Premières Nations ainsi que les problèmes et les mouvements de protection de l’environnement. C’est un livre tellement beau et important !

Vous me connaissez, je ne peux tout simplement pas passer à côté des livres illustrés qui présentent des aquarelles ! Celui-ci ne m’a pas déçue ! C’est plutôt avec un vif enchantement que j’ai découvert le travail de l’illustratrice alaskienne Michaela Goade. Chaque page du livre est remplie de couleurs riches et de compositions incroyables présentant de belles textures et des motifs complexes. C’était un véritable plaisir d’explorer chacune d’entre elles et de s’émerveiller devant les détails et les techniques que l’illustratrice présente. Les couleurs denses contribuent également à créer un univers magique qui prend vie et se déploie au fil de la lecture. C’est un livre tellement beau ! Il y a quelque chose de vraiment magique dans la façon dont les couleurs et les motifs s’assemblent pour emporter le lecteur dans l’histoire.

Le message du livre est également très important et pertinent. Carole Lindstrom prête sa voix au mouvement de Standing Rock et aux groupes autochtones qui défendent la nature contre la destruction. Ce livre présente les valeurs et les croyances des Premières Nations d’une manière à la fois poignante et facile à comprendre pour les enfants. Il est également riche de nombreux enseignements, tout en restant positif et fascinant.

Dans l’ensemble, je pense que ce livre enrichira la vie de tout lecteur et lectrice grâce à son histoire actuelle et captivante et à ses illustrations d’une richesse exceptionnelle. On ne peut que quitter ce livre en s’émerveillant et en ayant envie de faire les choses différemment. J’espère que ce livre trouvera sa place dans de nombreuses familles et classes, où il constituera certainement une excellente base de conversation et de réflexion. Comme l’auteure et l’illustratrice sont toutes deux membres de communautés de Premières Nations, c’est aussi une excellente occasion de présenter et de célébrer des voix importantes. J’espère vraiment que vous adopterez ce livre, car je suis sûre qu’il ne manquera pas de vous charmer et de vous enchanter comme il l’a fait pour moi.

Nous sommes les protecteurs de l’eau par Carole Lindstrom et Michaela Goade, Bayard Canada

Weekly news: June 23, 2021

weekly news

(This is a news letter I sent out. If you’d like to receive fresh news every week, sign up here! The full newsletter contains surprises and is delivered once a week to your mailbox. Et elle est également en français!)

I hope you are all doing well!

This week I finished my Wheel of the Year series with the August 1st celebration: Lughnasadh or Lammas. I had such a good time researching each of these holidays and their folklore. It is truly fascinating, and I learned so much! So much so, that I decided to turn the entire series into a booklet or zine (I told you I’d be making more!). I’m sharing the cover here with you! The book will be composed of the 8 holiday illustrations and of 8 recipes. Each holiday has its own related seasonal recipe. I sent the proof to the printer this morning, and I really cannot wait to share the zine with you when it arrives!

Outside the atelier, I’ve been enjoying the garden a lot. As we speak, I’m making an elder flower syrup that will be scrumptious in sparkling water and on pancakes! It’s exciting to be making things directly from the garden!

Oh and I almost forgot this! I’m experimenting with different products that I want to ass to the shop. I received this pouch this week, and I like it a lot! It feels unreal to see my illustrations like this! I really like this pouch because it’s the perfect size for pencils and a sketchbook… or for a good book and a chocolate bar! I think I’ll order a few more soon!

Let me know what you think and if you’d like a specific design printed out!

New in store

Here it is! The last illustration to complete the Wheel of the Year series!

Inspiration

I enjoyed this book so much! I was sad when I came to the last page. I hope you will enjoy it too!
I thought I’d share a zine with you this week from a fellow Canadian illustrator!

Head over to the blog for more details!

A small treat…

It’s like a storybook come true!

Cassia Fistula and Orange Breasted Trogon Fairy Painting

New in the Portfolio

This is my first large format painting! I was commissioned for this but was left with complete freedom as to what to paint. I decided to feature two species from Vietnam. The tree is called Cassia fistula and the bird is an orange breasted trogon.

There are more details on the painting in my portfolio, so I hope you’ll come take a look!

Weekly news: June 16, 2021

weekly news

(This is a news letter I sent out. If you’d like to receive fresh news every week, sign up here! The full newsletter contains surprises and is delivered once a week to your mailbox. Et elle est également en français!)

I hope you are all doing well!

After finishing my little three painting series on indigenous flowers of Canada last week, I wanted to try something a bit different. I went outside and took a few pictures of interesting plants in my garden and decided to create a nature journal spread. It was really difficult to select the plants and flowers as they all seemed interesting! It was so wonderful to research and identify some plants that are beautiful but for which I had no names. I mixed detailed illustrations with more loose ones because I thought it made the eye wander more around the piece and gave it more of a journal feel. After I was done, I decided that it’d make to cutest zine, so I gave that a go!

A zine is a small, self-edited magazine. Some people say zines started with the Punk movement in the 80s were fans would create little magazines dedicated to their favourite bands. Other say that pamphlets were the real ancestors of the modern zine. Whatever the case, zines are so fun because they are a simple way to share idea and art. Most zines are simply photocopied and folded up to make little booklets. I decided on this too, because my zine is not only a little booklet: it can also be used as a small poster when unfolded! I had so much fun creating this zine, I think I’ll do it again in the future! Please check out the zine listing as there’s a little video showing you how it works 🙂

If you want more details, head over to my portfolio for more on this piece!

New in store

As mentioned above, my painting is available as a zine but also as an art print.

I also added some new bookmarks!

Inspiration

I enjoyed this book so much! I was sad when I came to the last page. I hope you will enjoy it too!

Head over to the blog for more details!

A small treat…

What incredible skill! I wonder how long each model takes to complete… (turn on the subtitles!)

Book review: Snow & Rose by Emily Winfield Martin

Book Reviews

(Par ici en français!!)

I am not sure what is going on with the inter-library loans, but books have been transiting so slowly! I’ve been unlucky and waiting impatiently for some physical books to arrive but without any success. No matter, I turned to the digital library this week, and bring you a book I read last year and reread with such pleasure: Snow & Rose, by Emily Winfield Martin.

This book is a retelling of the Snow White and Red Rose fairy tale. It is done beautifully! I was expecting to find a storybook, but it is more of an illustrated short novel.The illustrations really bring this book to a higher level and make the story even more magical. Illustrated by the author, each image is filled with magic and wonder. I really enjoy the simple yet atmospheric style of illustration. Each image takes you to a folkloric fairy tale universe through the clothing, patterns, colours and interesting details it presents the reader. I particularly enjoyed the sketchbook pages at the end of the book which show different character and costume studies. It is always so interesting to see how artist work.

The story is also very interesting and is a fun retelling of the classic tale. I particularly enjoyed the characters and wished they all had their own storybook! Many of the characters are indeed very endearing, and I kept wanting to know more about them. It is always the mark of a great story when you engage enough to imagine your own story featuring its characters! I also loved the forest setting. It made the book feel like a fairy tale in the best of ways.

Overall, I think this would make a great book to be read chapter by chapter, as a nighttime storybook. The story was very engaging, the characters fascinating and the setting simply magical. The illustrations are sure to feed the imaginations of the readers and help them create their own adventures! I really think this book would make the perfect gift for all story lovers, children and adults alike. And if you’d like to know more about the process of this book, the author-illustrator shares her inspiration books over here.

Snow & Rose by Emily Winfield Martin, Random House Children’s Books


 

Book review: Snow & Rose par Emily Winfield Martin

(Malheureusement, ce livre n’est pas encore disponible en français au moment de l’écriture de ce billet.)

Je ne sais pas ce qui se passe avec les prêts interbibliothèques, mais les livres transitent si lentement ! Je n’ai pas eu de chance et j’ai attendu avec impatience l’arrivée de certains livres, mais sans succès. Peu importe, je me suis tournée vers la bibliothèque numérique cette semaine, et vous apporte un livre que j’ai lu l’année dernière et relu avec autant de plaisir : Snow & Rose, d’Emily Winfield Martin.

Ce livre est une réécriture du conte de fées “Blanche-Neige et Rose Rouge”. C’est très bien fait ! Je m’attendais à trouver un livre d’images, mais il s’agit plutôt d’un court roman illustré. Les illustrations donnent vraiment à ce livre une dimension supplémentaire et rendent l’histoire encore plus magique.Illustrées par l’auteure, chaque image est remplie de magie et d’émerveillement. J’aime beaucoup le style d’illustration à la fois simple et atmosphérique. Chaque image vous transporte dans l’univers d’un conte de fées folklorique grâce aux vêtements, aux motifs, aux couleurs et aux détails intéressants qu’elle présente au lecteur. J’ai particulièrement apprécié les pages du carnet de croquis à la fin du livre qui présentent différentes études de personnages et de costumes. Il est toujours très intéressant de voir comment les artistes travaillent.

L’histoire est également très intéressante et constitue une relecture amusante du conte classique. J’ai particulièrement apprécié les personnages et j’aurais aimé qu’ils aient tous leur propre livre de contes ! La plupart des personnages sont en effet très attachants, et j’ai constamment voulu en savoir plus sur eux. C’est toujours la marque d’une bonne histoire quand on s’y attache suffisamment pour imaginer sa propre histoire mettant en scène ses personnages ! J’ai également adoré le décor de la forêt. Il donne vraiment au livre une impression de conte de fées.

Dans l’ensemble, je pense que ce serait un excellent livre à lire chapitre par chapitre, comme un livre pour l’heure du conte. L’histoire est très prenante, les personnages fascinants et le décor tout simplement magique. Les illustrations vont certainement nourrir l’imagination des lecteurs et les aider à créer leurs propres aventures ! Je pense vraiment que ce livre serait le cadeau idéal pour tous les amateurs d’histoires, enfants et adultes confondus. Et si vous souhaitez en savoir plus sur le processus de création de ce livre, l’auteure-illustratrice partage ses livres d’inspiration ici.

Snow & Rose by Emily Winfield Martin, Random House Children’s Books

Weekly news: June 9, 2021

weekly news

(This is a news letter I sent out. If you’d like to receive fresh news every week, sign up here! The full newsletter contains surprises and is delivered once a week to your mailbox. Et elle est également en français!)

I hope you are all doing well!

Another painting is done! This time I’d like to introduce the beautiful wild orchid, Cypripedium acaule, or Pink Lady’s Slipper. This painting was very interesting from the first sketches to the final touches. It was challenging because the flower has a complex shape and many different colours. I really enjoyed painting them!

This painting also survive the major Kitten attack of 2021: As I was waiting for the final ink border to dry to scan the painting, Kitten decided it was the perfect time to jump on my drawing desk. As it is an inclined desk, she tripped, stepped in the fresh ink and smeared it, panicked and fell dragging my paint water with her which dropped and spilled EVERYWHERE! Fortunately, I comically jumped on my chair with the painting in hand, saving it from any water drops and the cat attack! After mopping all the water, I was able to scrub the smeared ink away and quickly scanned the picture before Kitten put it on fire or something!

If you want more details, head over to my portfolio for more on this piece!

This painting is the third Canadian wild flower I complete, and I think I’m ready to move to other subjects for now. I  learned so much with these three painting and especially this third one. It was fascinating work!

In other news, we have had our first heat wave this week, and Kitten Terror had mixed feelings about this. Here is her royal highness, gracefully enjoying the fan!

New in store

If you enjoyed my orchid painting, you will be able to claim your own print or greeting card!

I also added a new colouring letter paper page filled with fresh strawberries!

Inspiration

It’s hot and sunny outside, so let’s balance things out with this gloomy book!

Head over to the blog for more details!

A small treat…

Soft song 🙂