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Tolmie, Ken.

Ottawa, Oberon Press, c1986. 60pp, cloth, $35.00 ISBN 0-88750-620-8. CIP

Grades 9 and up
Reviewed by Gary Robertson

Volume 15 Number 2
1987 March

In an age of high-speed drama and hyper-excitement, this book is a welcome change. The art and writing of Ken Tolmie express a peace and joy of life found only in a rural setting, that of the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, with a colourful portrait of the people, animals, machinery, streets, roads, and farm yards. This book is loosely divided into three sections: "Winter," "Town Life," and "Country Life." Through the writing the author shares with us the rich feeling of small town life, its sense of belonging, its values, and its colourful characters. The paintings are as honest and sensitive as the writing.

There are over fifty watercolour paintings. Each of the images, while dissimilar to the enigmatic quality of Ken Danby's art, are close to his technique and subject matter. Tolmie exhibits a photographer's eye and a painter's hand, as we get to know the town folk through carefully articulated paintings, accompanied by an unpretentious text describing the people, their backgrounds, and their place in this rural setting.

The book makes for enjoyable reading. All the paintings are beautifully reproduced, although I feel that some of the small reproductions could have been printed much larger than their 2 x 3 in. However, most paintings are an appropriate size on the page. The book is well bound and is recommended for school libraries both for the art and for the view of a small part of rural Canada.

Gary Robertson, Thom C.I., Regina, Sask.
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