Children’s Literature English-language Finalists (Text)
Hugh Brewster, Toronto, for Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose: The Story of a Painting, illustrations by John Singer Sargent
(Kids Can Press; distributed by University of Toronto Press) ISBN: 978-1-55453-137-0
Richly evocative in word and image, Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose is a fictional account of the creation of a painting, which also tells the larger story of the creative act. As he paints, artist John Singer Sargent is meticulously observed by young Kate, who longs to be immortalized in a great work of art – a beautiful book.
Christopher Paul Curtis, Windsor (ON), for Elijah of Buxton
(Scholastic Canada, distributed by the publisher) ISBN: 978-0-439-93647-7
Elijah Freeman, the first child born of freed slaves in Canada, is the protagonist in this tale which is by turns hilarious and tragic, and always an engaging historical adventure. Christopher Paul Curtis’ creation stands shoulder to shoulder with Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.
Iain Lawrence, Gabriola Island (BC), for Gemini Summer
(Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House; distributed by Random House of Canada) ISBN: 978-0-385-73089-1 (trade) / 978-0-385-90111-6 (glb)
In this engrossing historical adventure, John Wilson paints a vivid picture of a bygone era involving Henry Hudson’s fateful search for the elusive Northwest Passage, an alchemist, mysterious passengers, and enigmatic maps. The Alchemist’s Dream fascinates from start to finish.
Eva Wiseman, Winnipeg, for Kanada
(Tundra Books; distributed by Random House of Canada) ISBN: 978-0-88776-729-6
In Nazi-occupied Europe, fourteen-year-old Jutka dreams of the Canada she has seen in a book, but before her family can flee to safety, the Nazis invade Hungary and Jutka and her family are sent to Auschwitz. There she engages in a daily battle for survival while never relinquishing her dream of one day making it to Canada.
The Jury: Deirdre Kessler (Charlottetown), Pamela Porter (Sidney, BC), Simon Rose (Calgary)
Children’s Literature English-language Finalists (Illustration)
Wallace Edwards, Yarker (ON), for The Painted Circus, text by Wallace Edwards
(Kids Can Press; distributed by University of Toronto Press) ISBN: 978-1-55337-720-7
Wallace Edwards’ The Painted Circus both charms and astonishes with its ingenious, detailed, colourful and excellently rendered picture puzzles. The viewer becomes a participant in the effort to solve the book’s complex mysteries.
Joanne Fitzgerald, Orton (ON), for The Blue Hippopotamus, text by Phoebe Gilman based on a story by Joan Grant
( North Winds Press, an imprint of Scholastic Canada; distributed by Scholastic Canada) ISBN: 978-0-439-95260-6
Joanne Fitzgerald’s beguiling, warmly-toned and decorative series of illustrations perfectly reflects the text, helps it to tell its story, and displays the artist’s painstaking research, as well as her efforts – both in her use of colour and in her choice of detail – to accurately render the ancient setting of this tale.
Jirina Marton’s vivid, painterly illustrations expertly and touchingly create both of the moods required by the text – the chill, snowy, shadowy exteriors of the winter scenes, and the warm, lamp-lit interiors.
Dušan Petričić, Toronto, for My New Shirt, text by Cary Fagan
(Tundra Books; distributed by Random House of Canada) ISBN: 978-0-88776-715-9 -image not available.
Dušan Petričić’s humorous, dynamic and vividly expressive pictures perfectly complement the text of My New Shirt. The device of arranging the illustrations as a series of snapshots allows the figures to move as in a flip book, and the colour choices – both subdued and vibrant – are an unusual technique for portraying the realistic but comic events of the story.
Duncan Weller, Thunder Bay (ON), for The Boy from the Sun, text by Duncan Weller
(Simply Read Books; distributed by Publishers Group Canada / Raincoast Business Services) ISBN: 978-0894965-33-0-image not available.
Duncan Weller’s The Boy from the Sun, with its striking mix of techniques, lures the unsuspecting reader away from a dark, gloomy and featureless industrial-urban milieu into a brilliantly coloured alternative world of light, colour and hope.
The Jury: Margaret Atwood (Toronto), Michael Martchenko (Toronto), Ludmila Zeman (Montreal)