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Kurelek, William.

Montreal, Tundra Books, c1974,1983. unpaged, paper, $8.95, ISBN 0-88776-082-1.

Grades 4 and up
Reviewed by Dianne Clipsham

Volume 13 Number 3
1985 May

Here is Kurelek's testimonial in words and pictures to the old trade of the lumberjack: all the human effort that went into producing, on a good day, two-and-a-half cords of wood in twelve hours, using only a swede saw and an axe. He went north first in 1946, as a student of nineteen and returned to the bush in 1951. This volume is his third journey back to the old ways and places, as Kurelek uses his vivid pictorial memory to create paintings that convey a wistful longing for simpler times when men had to be strong and hardy to make a living in the bush. The survivors, among them William himself, came out of the experience with a new sense of pride and self-worth. The paintings celebrate this successful struggle by men, at the same time portraying nature with a sense of innocence and delicacy. The sparse text provides some insight into the growth of the young man who was to become the troubled and complex artist who painted in such a deceptively simple style.

When first published the book justifiably won several awards, among them the 1974 New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year and the New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year. This volume is a paperback reprint of the original '74 hardcover edition, so many libraries may already have Lumberjack. For those who do not (or need duplicates), this would be a welcome addition to either the juvenile collection (beside A Prairie Boy's Winter*, and A Northern Nativity,** etc.), the Canadian history shelves, or the Canadian art collection.

Dianne Clipsham, Nepean, Ont.

* Reviewed vol. XIII/3 May 1985 p. 137.
**Reviewed vol. V/3 Autumn 1977 p. 104.

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