Cover Image: When Emily Was Small

When Emily Was Small

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I received a free ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This one just didn't appeal to me much. The colors were bright and colorful but it was just a bit odd. I think some folks might like it, especially the artistic type since it's based on an artist.

Was this review helpful?

This was fine I guess? The art was a little strange, and I don't think most people are familiar with Emily Carr at all. The story didn't excite me very much.

Was this review helpful?

What a lovely book! It's based on a short story by Carr called "White Currants," and manages to capture how looking at nature, experiencing the natural world around her, influenced Carr's artistic style and vision later in life. The text is poetic and imaginative, filled with beautiful imagery, and the art is bold and richly colored, heavy with shades of green, with shapes and swooshes that evoke Carr's striking landscapes. There is a brief bio of Emily Carr at the end, which adds another meaning to the title- as a child, she called herself "Small." A beautiful book about one of Canada's greatest artists- definitely recommended!

#WhenEmilyWasSmall #NetGalley

Was this review helpful?

I was fortunate to visit and enjoy a visit to the Emily Carr Museum in Victoria, British Colombia a few years back and enjoy checking out biographical picture books. So this title about the Canadian writer and visual artist caught my eye – and it did not disappoint. Lauren Soloy’s book is appropriately imaginative and the colours (particularly the greens) and style of her illustrations evoke some of Carr’s most striking and beloved works, and highlights the artist’s connection to nature, as she imagines Carr as a young girl.

My favourite bit of the text: “Then, out of the shimmering stillness, in the space between one heartbeat and the next – Thumpety…Bumpety, the silence filled with presence.” Lovely.

Additionally, I appreciated the “This book belongs to….” faux bookplate at the front of the book and the two short Carr bio paragraphs at the end.

I read a digital proof of When Emily Was Small via NetGalley and the publisher, Annick Press.

Was this review helpful?

I requested and received an e-ARC of this book from Lauren Soloy and Penguin Random House Canada through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

This was a weird book! The writing was in a poetic style and the illustrations were almost trippy. At times while reading this I kept wondering why Emily was a Vulcan but that is probably just me. I think kids would have fun with this book because it has strange images and interesting speech patterns.

Was this review helpful?

Lauren Soloy does a beautiful job of reinterpreting a short story about a glimpse into the young life of Emily Carr. The connection to the wild, and the rhythm of Carr's heart connecting to the world around her is a great way to connect a child's heart to the world around them. Children will be able to read this book and recognize that there may be something in the world that calls to them that may not be typical to other children or how their parent's would like them to behave. Emily Carr is a terrific artist, and her loneliness and connection to her craft should be shared.

Was this review helpful?

Emily sets off on an adventure through her father's vegetable beds and under the currant bushes to the wildest parts of the garden, where she clears her mind, listens to the sounds of nature around her, and makes friends with the 'Wild'.

This fun and introspective picture book is inspired by a short story from 'The Book of Small', written by the author/artist Emily Carr, and shares a bit of Emily's wonder-filled childhood.

When Emily Was Small highlights the curiosity, excitement, and imagination of childhood and focuses heavily on the wonder of the world, specifically nature, and how it can make you feel both big and small.

With unique character illustrations and colorful spreads full of flora and fauna, this picture book will delight nature lovers and little adventurers and daydreamers!

There is a short biographical spread at the end of this book talks about Emily Carr and how this book was inspired by her art and literature.
I had no idea who Emily Carr was when we 'picked this up'. We have since researched a bit to check out her paintings, which are beautiful. From what we found out, Carr originally painted and wrote about her Indigenous friends but didn't really win recognition until she started painting landscapes.

Was this review helpful?

This is a strange book. It's apparently based on a story that Emily Carr wrote herself called "White Currants". I haven't read the original, nor do I have any desire to. Although, I am curious as to whether the original story is as trippy and uncomfortable as this picture book.

To start with, the language is overly flowery and poetic and probably wouldn't be appealing to its audience. Second, the pictures are kind of creepy. Emily herself is bad enough, but then she meets this creature in the bushes that looks like a sharp-toothed wolf. It's supposed to represent wilderness, but for me, it came across more as a predator lurking in the bushes, ready to lure children away.

This picture book is just too weird for my taste. For slightly older readers, I'd recommend Kit Pearson's middle grade novel called A Day of Signs and Wonders. It's also about a young Emily Carr chafing at the expectations of society... but it doesn't devolve into uncomfortable fantasy to get the point across.

Was this review helpful?

This review is written in collaboration with my almost 8-year-old daughter. We read the story together. The book is the story of artist Emily Carr. Knowing this from the beginning helped us understand the story. It's a cute children's story with illustrations that appear to imitate Emily Carr's style. This is a greatbook for children who are interested in art or learning about Emily Carr. My daughter describes it as "a fun book about a little girl who loves art and loves nature, just like me." This book has sparked her interest in learning about Emily Carr and her work. As a parent of a reluctant reader, I struggle to find books that she is interested in and this But cats sparked her desire to read more about artists when they are children and to learn more about Emily Carr and her artwork. That is an unexpected plus from this book that I will not anticipating and that I truly appreciate.

I received an advanced reader copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Was this review helpful?

A biographical picture book about the artist Emily Carr, based on a story she wrote, this is a whimsical journey into her imagination as a young girl. It also highlights the power of observance in nature and how if you pay attention, beauty and life abound. I would actually suggest reading the information at the end of the book before reading the book for better context.

Was this review helpful?

I grew up going to field trips to the art gallery in elementary school to study Emily Carr and her art so I thought this would be a lovely story to read about her being a child. I did enjoy the writing; it was very much written like a poem, which I think would be a bit difficult to children to fully understand. I also thought that the art was quite odd - it was very plain and the girl looked strange to me, but all the greenery was beautiful. Overall the story was a bit weird and not very captivating and I don't think it really told a special story that had a great meaning or lesson.

Was this review helpful?

I wanted to like this story, but I thought it fell a little flat. I understood the message the author was trying to convey. However, I thought it was beyond reach for many students. Are they going to understand that wild is not actually a character, but an idea? I loved the scenery of the illustrations, but I did not love the design of Emily. I felt she was disproportioned

Was this review helpful?

The Wild and Small of Emily Carr the artist. A visionary picture book for young children with strong imaginations. It is a glimpse of Emily Carr young life as she looked at life differently as most artist do. It is whimsical and flighty tale of the small and wild. The smallness of Emily and the wildness of the wolf that little Emily befriends. How one finds hope in being different.

A Special Thank you to Tundra Publishing and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review

Was this review helpful?

I received an arc of this title from NetGalley. This is a great book about imagination and the illustrations are lovely.

Was this review helpful?

This book is a bit odd, but the prose is absolutely gorgeous and inventive, and I appreciate the portrayal of an artist as a child, enjoying the world around her through the power of her imagination and her awareness of the minute and magnificent beauties all around her. Emily's hair looks weird in the art style, and I found that distracting, but overall, I enjoyed this a lot.

Parents should note that Emily's imagination includes a wolf that suddenly appears partway through. Highly sensitive and easily scared kids may react negatively to this toothy portrayal of a predator, but he is merely Emily's imagined embodiment of the wild world, and nothing that he does within the story is scary. Overall, I think that this book will work well for imaginative children who enjoy the outdoors, because the book has a delightful read-aloud rhythm and encourages flights of fancy.

Was this review helpful?

I wasn't familiar with the work of Emily Carr prior to reading this, but I feel like I understand some of her inner vision now. The text itself might be a little abstract for a younger audience without assistance, but with the assistance of adult, it could serve well as an art classroom read aloud. The end note describes the life of Emily Carr in clear, easily understood terms. The art is friendly and warm. I would advise art teachers to take a look at this text. It's a pleasant read.

Was this review helpful?

I am giggling out loud! And then I feel all the warm fuzzies at the conclusion!! What a delightful children's book!!

This is the story of a child who grew up to become an artist, and in the reading my first reaction was "It's a silly new Pippi Longstocking!" ... And then, though it could be that expanded, I discovered it was more, condensed to about 25 stupendous works of art pages, It is the gift of learning our uniqueness and becoming adventurous and perhaps brave enough to be just that.

And the prose!
"Then she crawled past the currant
bushes to the spare place beside the
fence, where the garden scraps were
dumped. Weeds and wildflowers
grew there, higgledy-piggledy."

There are wonderful words throughout this fantastic book, "trembly things" and glitter-glimmer" and ...
"Hello, secret" !! What fantastic children's writing!

And the art! Bold and beautiful and somehow childhood lush without clutter, fantastic! And I am an artist with a picky eye, this book is beautiful.

There are perhaps from 5 to 50-60 words per page, or per 2-page spread, varying with glorious nature-depicting artwork. There are adventures with critters and dreams of taking off into the sky.

Most importantly, this book is a peek into a childhood when an artist felt small, and later learned to feel very big indeed. There is a statement included of the artist's life, and I am blessed for the gift of reading it and this gem of a book. I am seriously all smiles reading this advanced reader's digital copy.

Thank you to NetGalley and to Tundra Books for the opportunity to review this book. And thank you to Lauren Soloy, who reminds me why I am an artist, too.

A solid BUY!

Was this review helpful?

Lauren Soloy takes us through a beautiful meditation in her book When Emily was Small. Inspired by Emily Carr’s story White Currants from her book The Book of Small, we are taken back to Emily Carr’s childhood, before she was the artist we all know and admire, before she was an author to when she was a child and experiencing all the sight, sounds and colours around her.

Lauren Soloy takes the reader on a journey with Emily and the Wild into the heart of the earth. This book is a wonderful reminder to take time to stop and listen to the Wild and bath in it so we can better appreciate all it has to offer to us. The writing is so descriptive and intimate, it would be such an inviting story to read or listen to in your backyard.

Was this review helpful?

This was a really cute little story inspired by writings by artist Emily Carr. The story was so much fun seeing Emily get to be herself in the "Wild." And I really liked reading this book. The art was all gorgeous and fit the story so well. I really want to know more about Emily Carr now that I've read this little story!

Was this review helpful?

This book is about the artist Emily Carr and how she grew up.

The art style put me off a little. It looks like it's trying to imitate Emily Carr's own art style, but I can't be certain. Emily herself was the strangest part - she didn't exactly fit in with the background.

Overall, this book was kind of strange. I couldn't quite put my finger on what the plot wanted to be. It wasn't a biography - it was a very out there fiction adaption of Emily Carr's life. This book just didn't sit well with me. I truly think this was supposed to be a grander than life take, but I didn't enjoy it. I can definitely seeing kids like it with all of the fantasy elements. Artists are cool, so their stories can be too.

Two out of five stars.

Thank you to NetGalley. Tundra and Penguin Random House Canada for supplying me a copy of this book to review.

Was this review helpful?