CM . . .
. Volume XVI Number 2. . . .September 11, 2009
Charles Pachter is a world-renowned, contemporary Canadian artist living in Toronto, ON. A lifetime love affair with all things Canadian has inspired his search for iconic images that he represents through his paintings, print making, mixed media as well as sculptures. His contemporary style ranges from the almost photographic, to highly graphic shapes in juxtaposition, to loose and fluid brush strokes in some of his paintings. His colour-rich artwork is generally expansive and emotive in its presentation. Some of his favourite images are barns, canoes, ducks, flags, Mounties, the Queen, and moose. Using artwork from his previous projects, as well as some relatively new pieces, Pachter has illustrated a truly Canadian picture book of striking beauty and style.
The weakness in this picture book is the alphabet poetry used to link the illustrations. If this very talented artist, Pachter, had called on his good friend Margaret Atwood or some other accomplished author to write the manuscript for this picture book, it would have been more successful. It is disappointing that the rhyming beat is frequently awkward, and the content and use of some words don't make the best sense or impact:
For four pages, the rhyme ends with these uninspiring lines:
And then, (cringe) his writing contains a hint of conceit which is mildly uncomfortable and very "un-Canadian" with the author/artist's comments about his own art in the lines:
The alphabet poem attempts to string together the collection of artwork in a loosely-themed alphabetical construct. Clearly it was written following the arrangement of the iconic images. Usually the manuscript precedes the creation of illustrations in the building of a picture book, and this order results in a more successful "story." However, the poem in this book takes secondary place to the amazing artwork collection which is really what this picture book is all about.
Diana Wilkes has taught grades K to 7 and visual arts for grades 8-10. She holds a B.Ed from Simon Fraser University and a Master of Arts degree in Children's Literature from the University of British Columbia. She writes and paints from her homes in Surrey, BC, and Nelson, New Zealand.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.