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Art Canadian

The Book of Small

by (author) Emily Carr

introduction by Sarah Ellis

Douglas & McIntyre
Initial publish date
May 2004
Canadian, Artists, Architects, Photographers, Essays
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2004
    List Price

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The legendary Emily Carr was acclaimed as both an artist and a writer. Her first book, Klee Wyck, won the prestigious Governor General’s Literary Award for non-fiction in 1941.

The Book of Small is a collection of thirty-six word sketches in which Emily Carr relates anecdotes about her life as a young girl in the frontier town of Victoria. She notes: "There were a great many things that I only half understood, such as saloons and the Royal Family and the Chain Gang." The young Emily, who gave herself the nickname "Small," was an intense, observant and sensitive yet rebellious child, who often got into scrapes because of her frankness or innocence. The vividly told stories reveal an awareness of the comedy -- and pathos -- of people and situations. The also offer an intimate look into childhood in a pioneer society in Victorian Times. The Book of Small is a classic memoir of early childhood and a wonderful addition to The Emily Carr Library.

In her empathetic and engaging introduction, award-winning children’s writer Sarah Ellis puts The Book of Small into the context of Emily Carr’s life and times, which, she points out, have similarities to those of Lucy Maud Montgomery and Beatrix Potter.

About the authors

Beloved Canadian artist and writer Emily Carr (December 13, 1871—March 2, 1945) was born in Victoria, British Columbia. She studied art in the U.S., England and France until 1911, when she moved back to British Columbia. Carr was most heavily influenced by the landscapes and First Nations cultures of British Columbia and Alaska. In the 1920s she came into contact with members of the Group of Seven and was later invited to submit her works for inclusion in a Group of Seven exhibition. They named her The Mother of Modern Arts about five years later.

Emily Carr's profile page

Sarah Ellis is one of Canada's most-loved children's writers. A former librarian, she is a highly sought-after children's book reviewer, literary jury member and speaker who lectures internationally on Canadian children's books. She is the winner of the Governor General's Award (Pick-Up Sticks), the Mr. Christie's Award (Out of the Blue and The Several Lives of Orphan Jack) and the Sheila A. Egoff Award (The Baby Project, Back of Beyond and Odd Man Out). Further accolades for Odd Man Out include the prestigious TD Canadian Children's Literature Award, the Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award Master List, ALA Notable Book for Older Readers, Maine State Library Cream of the Crop List and OLA Best Bets - Top 10 Fiction for Children. Sarah Ellis has also won the Vicky Metcalf Award for a Body of Work. Sarah is on the faculty of Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Sarah Ellis' profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Carr is a magical wordsmith whose gorgeous prose reflects a desire for simplicity even as it sensually mirrors life in its teeming complexity."

Publishers Weekly

"When Emily Carr decides in her sixties to look back upon her life it is her pleasure to create a wonderful big stamp album of wild places, strange pets, difficult characters, curious modes of transport and the like."

Hungry Mind Review

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