Rachel Berman (1946-2014)

With heavy hearts, we regretfully share the news that our wonderful illustrator, Rachel Berman, passed away in her home in Victoria, BC, on Wednesday, May 28, 2014.

Rachel Berman, courtesy of the Ingram GalleryRachel Berman was a self-educated painter who lived and worked in Canada, the United States, and Ireland. Born in New Orleans, Rachel worked as a professional artist for over thirty years. Her paintings have been likened to the poems of Leonard Cohen. The mysterious figures and hidden stories glimpsed in her paintings are a reflection of the mysteries Berman unraveled in her own life. Once known as Susan King, she discovered her original birth name, birth date, and the names of her biological parents only ten years ago. This experience led her to reclaim her long-lost name.

Alison Morgan, Publisher of Tundra Books, said, “Rachel was a free spirit, and a wonderful, warm person. She didn’t believe in technology, never had e-mail, and sometimes no phone. She lived an incredible life, which was reflected in her art—her light side came out in the illustrations she created for her books with Tim Beiser. Hats off to the memory of an intrepid individual who cared deeply about humanity in all its huge variety.”

Bradley_RachelBermanRachel created the beautiful artwork for Bradley McGogg, The Very Fine Frog (a frog, whose appearance, she said, was based on her own) and Miss Mousie’s Blind Date. Both books were finalists for the Governor General’s Literary Awards in Children’s Literature for Illustration.

Tim Beiser, author of Bradley McGogg and Miss Mousie’s Blind Date, remarked, “I honestly believe that Rachel was one of the world’s few true geniuses, and was so proud when she was nominated for the Governor General’s Award for the two books we did together…. My silly storybook characters that she brought to life and her monumental paintings will last forever, as will my fond memories of her. God bless you, Rachel. My life is better for having known you.”

We are so thankful that Rachel touched all our lives in the ways that she did—she will be in our thoughts and hearts always.

The Ingram Gallery were among Rachel’s greatest supporters and the closest thing she had to a family. Please visit the Ingram Gallery for a look at Rachel Berman’s artwork and event photos.

Praise for Bradley McGogg, The Very Fine Frog:

Bradley2_RachelBerman“The sophisticated rhyming text is accompanied by subdued watercolor…. Each animal’s face is imbued with character and personality.” – School Library Journal

“Even more original are the illustrations. Rachel Berman locates this moveable feast in a gentle setting, rural and mildly Edwardian…. Our hero Bradley, dressed in striped overalls, Birkenstock sandals and bow tie…. In her portrayal of facial expression and gesture Berman creates a frog who is different, courteous, tactful, and charming—everyone’s first choice as the eligible bachelor houseguest.” – Feature Review, Quill & Quire

“A very fine frog indeed…. This delightful excursion is made even more so because Rachel Berman’s illustrations, interpretations of the miniature worlds of mouse nests and bear and hare picnics, are nothing short of entrancing.” – The Globe and Mail

“Rachel Berman’s illustrations in beautifully detailed watercolor capture frog’s personality and bring the anthropomorphic animals to vivid life.” – National Center for the Study of Children’s Literature

“Rachel Berman … uses magical images to illuminate the text and to engage readers in the story in wonderful ways!” – Highly Recommended, CM Magazine

Mousie_RachelBerman“Tim Beiser’s text is lyrical and lively and Rachel Berman’s illustrations are full of character and personality…. Berman’s animal faces and gestures convey an array of human emotions and Beiser’s text contains enough gross-out references (a feast of insects!) and humour to delight children and adults of every age…. Bradley is one of the most endearing characters to come along in a long time!” – Canadianbookseller

“The watercolor illustrations are beautifully done in colorful detail by Rachel Berman, adding to the charm and humor of the story.” – Michigan Reading Journal

Praise for Miss Mousie’s Blind Date:

Mousie2_RachelBerman“Berman’s pictures, in watercolor and gouache on rag, suggest Beatrix Potter, ably matching the crisp elegance of the story. Wonderful.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

“Berman’s formally attired creatures, their delicate hands and oversized heads rendered in muted tones, show Beatrix Potter’s influence in the best possible way. This is an utterly charming book and a gentle introduction to the lifelong perils of spring fever.” – Starred Review, Quill & Quire

“The watercolor and gouache illustrations, with animals dressed in sumptuous clothing, are whimsical and reminiscent of the work of John Goodall….” – School Library Journal

“The text surrounds delicate watercolor and gouache paintings reminiscent of Beatrix Potter, which add plenty of charm to this winsome rhyming tale…. [A] lesson in true love from wise animals.” – Booklist

“Berman’s illustrations are adorable, in a classic muted colour scheme style reminiscent of Frog and Toad. There is a lot to look at in each image, and the illustrations help add visual support to the story being told. There are some longer blocks of text, and the illustrations help give focus to these pages….” – Recommended, CM Magazine

Rachel Berman by Jon ClaytorAround the Web:
+ Obituary in the Globe and Mail
+ Ingram Gallery Event
+ Munro’s Books Event
+ Tim Beiser
+ Don Denton
+ Sara Sniderhan

As per Rachel’s wish, there will be no visitation or funeral service. However, friends are invited to visit Ingram Gallery to share their memories. If desired, in memoriam donations may be made to your favourite art institution and/or local animal shelter.

Telling Tales 2011

This year, the 3rd annual Telling Tales: A Family Festival of Stories is being held on Sunday, September 18, 2011 at the Westfield Heritage Village. Gates open at 9:30am and the festival ends around 4:00pm. You don’t want to miss it, Telling Tales won the 2010 Tourism Hamilton Award of Excellence – Festival of the Year!

Don’t forget to meet our authors at the festival this year:

Bradley McGogg
The Very Fine Frog
By Tim Beiser
Illustrated by Rachel Berman
Trade Paperback | 24 Pages | Ages 2-5
ISBN: 978-1-77049-276-9
Tim Beiser was born on April Fools’ Day in Los Angeles, California. After earning a degree in Economics at Rocky Mountain College in Montana, he moved to New York City where he spent sixteen years as a playwright and science fiction short-story writer. He was a writer-in-residence at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico, and he founded the creative writing studio The Writer’s Workout in Manhattan. Like most New York artists, Tim has had many day jobs: a pastry chef, an architectural draftsman, a college teacher, a waiter, a nightclub performer, a computer repairman, and, lastly, an emergency medical technician for the Fire Department of New York, driving an ambulance. Tim received a B.A.A. in Journalism from Ryerson University and started a career as a freelance magazine writer. For his work in such publications as National Post Business, Toronto Life, Elm Street, Reader’s Digest, and Saturday Night, Tim has been nominated for four National Magazine Awards. Bradley McGogg, the Very Fine Frog is his first book for children. Tim Beiser is the proud dad of twins Rowan and Daniel, and he and his family split their time between Toronto, Canada and Grignan, France.

Capturing Joy
The Story of Maud Lewis
By Jo Ellen Bogart
Illustrated by Mark Lang
Trade Paperback | 32 Pages | Ages 8-12
ISBN: 978-1-77049-262-2
Jo Ellen Bogart is the author of many best-selling children’s books, including Big and Small, Room for All; Jeremiah Learns to Read; Daniel’s Dog; and Gifts. She has degrees in elementary education and psychology from the University of Texas, and she now writes full time. Jo Ellen has won the Ruth Schwartz Award and has been shortlisted for the Mr. Christie’s Book Award. Her first book for Tundra was a biography of Maud Lewis called Capturing Joy: The Story of Maud Lewis. Born in Houston, Texas, she now lives in a pet-filled home in Guelph, Ontario.

The Nightwood
By Robin Muller
Hardcover | 32 Pages | Ages 5-8
ISBN: 978-1-77049-209-7
Robin Muller is an internationally acclaimed author and illustrator of children’s books. He received the Studio Magazine Award for Illustration (silver) for The Nightwood, the Governor General’s Award for The Magic Paintbrush, and the 1995 IODE Award for The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. He was a medalist for the Ezra Jack Keats Memorial Award. Robin Muller lives in Toronto.

Click here for photos from the festival’s first year!

Tuesdays with Tundra 12

Tuesdays with Tundra is a monthly post on our new releases. The following books are available today in stores and online!

Ella May and the Wishing Stone
By Cary Fagan
Illustrated by Geneviève Côté
Hardcover | Ages 4-7
ISBN 978-1-77049-225-7
“…soft, summery, pastel watercolors. The story includes several understated lessons for youngsters, such as getting along, being considerate, and using your imagination.” – School Library Journal

Except the Color Grey
By Arlene Alda
Hardcover | Ages 2-5
ISBN 978-1-77049-284-4
“…The rhythmic pace carries readers along as the author shares her day’s journey, giving them focus for a walk that they might take themselves…with camera in hand.” – Sal’s Fiction Addiction

By François Thisdale
Hardcover | Ages 3-6
ISBN 978-1-77049-270-7
“…the story of a family coming together is told with lyrical elegance…. As is typical of Thisdale’s work, breathtaking, multi-layered visuals form a magnificent, detail-rich backdrop to the narrative and contribute heavily to its emotional impact…. There is wonderful interplay between text and image…. Highly recommended.” – Starred Review, Quill & Quire

Wishes and Worries: Coping with a Parent Who Drinks Too Much Alcohol
By the Centre For Addiction And Mental Health
Illustrated by Lars Rudebjer
Hardcover | Ages 5-8
ISBN 978-1-77049-238-7
Children of parents who drink too much alcohol are affected in many ways. They may experience anger, fear, confusion, and guilt. This reassuring book, written by professionals, offers information in the form of a story about one family’s struggle. Wishes and Worries is an excellent way to open a discussion between adult and child.

New in Paperback!

Bradley McGogg, The Very Fine Frog
By Tim Beiser
Illustrated by Rachel Berman
Paperback | Ages 2-5
ISBN 978-1-77049-276-9
“… This is a very fine book about a very fine frog, so fine in fact that he has –shall we say-refined tastes…. Now the story is great but the rhyming text is so fun to read and so different than any other book that it makes this worth the read and purchase. I can’t imagine any child getting sick of this book or any parent for that matter. Berman’s illustrations match the fresh and unique text. Her depictions of the Brad McGogg the finicky frog in his sandals, jaunty bow tie and striped overalls are magnificent (who could not love a frog in sandals?!) … This book is truly an exploration in epicurean delights that would please any aficionado! Not just a perfect classroom addition to teaching about differences, judgment and understanding those with particular tastes, I think wee readers with foodies for folks may find themselves being read this story time and time again to much delight (both parents and kids!)” – Word of Mouse Book Reviews

Did You Say Pears?
By Arlene Alda
Paperback | Ages 3-8
ISBN 978-1-77049-278-3
“A marvelously imaginative pairing…of homonyms…and homophones wrapped up in a rhyme of amazingly few words and terrific offbeat photographs.” – Booklist

Pub Date Giveaway: Welcome to the beginning of our fall season readers! Which book would you love to read? Leave us a comment below and one lucky reader will receive a copy of their requested book! One request per person and please review our rules. This giveaway ends at midnight on Thursday, August 11, 2011!

A winner will be chosen at random and announced on this post.

UPDATE: A winner has been chosen. Congratulations to Erin Walker, the new owner of Ella May and the Wishing Stone.

Day 1: Festival of Trees 2010

The Ontario Library Association hosts the Forest of Reading Programs  where readers vote for their favourite books! There are 7 different reading programs, categorized by grade level and age. The 2010 winner for each award is announced at the Festival of Trees at the Harbourfront Centre on May 12 and 13th. Despite the cold weather, the students came to the award ceremony to support their favourite books.

First up was the Red Maple Award! Just look at the audience:

Let’s zoom in to see the authors:

DRUMROLL please! Here’s a video on the announcement of the Finalists and the Winner:

Congratulations to Susin Nielsen, Word Nerd is the winner of the 2010 Red Maple Award! Here she is giving her acceptance speech:

Coming off the stage, readers ask to have their photos taken with Susin:

Readers crowding around Susin to get her autograph! She’s feeling like a total ROCK STAR!!!

Lovely isn’t it? Where will Susin hang this?

Next up was the Blue Spruce Award ceremony, the sign holders were adorable:

Tim Beiser and Rachel Berman, creators of Bradley McGogg, the Very Fine Frog sitting beside Jeremy Tankard (in the blue jacket):

Congratulations to Jeremy Tankard, his book Boo Hoo Bird won the Blue Spruce Award!

Thank you to all the organizers, volunteers, authors, illustrators, teachers, and students for all their work! Congratulations to all the authors and illustrators!

2010 Blue Spruce Award Nominee

Bradley McGogg, the Very Fine Frog is nominated for the Blue Spruce Award!

Tim Beiser created a video clip reading, watch and listen:

The winner of the Blue Spruce Award will be announced at the Festival of Trees, taking place on May 12-13, 2010 at the Harbourfront Centre. For more information, visit the Forest of Reading website. Vote for Bradley McGogg, The Very Fine Frog!

Bradley McGoggBradley McGogg
The Very Fine Frog

By Tim Beiser
Illustrated by Rachel Berman
ISBN 978-88776-864-4
24 Pages
Ages 2-5