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.

Finalists for the 2013 Governor General’s Literary Awards

GG2012Each year, the Governor General’s Literary Awards (the GGs) honours the best in Canadian literature. Tundra Books would like to showcase our two finalists!

For Children’s Text, congratulations to Shane Peacock!

Becoming HolmesBecoming Holmes: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His Final Case
Written by Shane Peacock
Hardcover | 264 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-77049-232-5
eBook: 978-1-77049-291-2
“This final book in Shane Peacock’s award-winning Boy Sherlock Holmes series combines brilliant storytelling with fascinating historical detail, including famous people, popular myths and street-level views of London. A surprising and shocking conclusion to a mystery worthy of one of the greatest sleuths in English literature.”

Congratulations to the other finalists in the text category: Beverley Brenna for The White Bicycle, Jean E. Pendziwol for Once Upon a Northern Night, Valerie Sherrard for Counting Back From Nine, and Teresa Toten for The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B.

For Children’s Illustration, congratulations to Rachel Berman!

Miss Mousies Blind DateMiss Mousie’s Blind Date
Written by Tim Beiser
Illustrated by Rachel Berman
Hardcover | 24 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-77049-251-6
eBook: 978-1-77049-363-6
“A story about self-acceptance, and love lost and found, told through the eyes of a little mouse, and her possibly-not-so-handsome suitor, Mole. Charmingly illustrated, cleverly told, the message is timeless, and the illustrations endearing.”

Congratulations to the other finalists in the illustration category: Gary Clement for Oy, Feh, So?, text by Cary Fagan; Matt James for Northwest Passage, text by Stan Rogers; Jon Klassen for The Dark, text by Lemony Snicket; and Julie Morstad for How To.

The winners will be announced Wednesday, November 13, 2013 at 10 am at the Betty Oliphant Theatre at Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto. For the official press release, please click here. For more information about the award and other finalists, please visit ggbooks.canadacouncil.ca

You’re Invited to the Launch of Miss Mousie’s Blind Date

Miss Mousies Blind Date You are invited to the launch of Miss Mousie’s Blind Date. Please join the award-winning author and illustrator team, Tim Beiser and Rachel Berman, as they celebrate their second collaboration!

When: Saturday, April 6, 2013
Time: 2 pm to 4 pm
Where: I N G R A M G A L L E R Y
Address: 49 Avenue Road, Toronto, ON M5R 2G3
Telephone: 416-929-2220
RSVP: RSVPCanada@randomhouse.com

In addition, the artwork from Miss Mousie’s Blind Date will be exhibited at Ingram Gallery from April 6-18, 2013.

Praise for Miss Mousie’s Blind Date:

Miss Mousies Blind Date“…Beiser’s playful rhymes ferry us merrily along to the tale’s satisfying resolution. Realizing they’re both pretending to be something they’re not, Miss Mousie calls a truce, which the mole accepts on bended knee, proposing, ‘If you’ll be you, then I’ll be me.’ Beiser and illustrator Rachel Berman previously collaborated on the equally enchanting Governor General’s Literary Award finalist Bradley McGogg, the Very Fine Frog. Once again, 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

“…Beiser’s sprightly text has warmth, heart and a valuable lesson. Berman’s pictures, in watercolor and gouache on rag, suggest Beatrix Potter, ably matching the crisp elegance of the story.” – Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews

“…The perfect collaboration of Tim Beiser and Rachel Berman takes Miss Mousie from crushing on the handsome rat to despairing over his disregard for her and finally to delight, with an ending that will please even those too young to know the pangs of first love but will understand the value of being oneself.” – CanLit for LittleCanadians

Invitation to the Miss Mousie’s Blind Date Book Launch

Join author Tim Beiser and artist Rachel Berman for the launch of their much anticipated title, Miss Mousie’s Blind Date.

Date: Saturday, October 20, 2012
Time: 2:00pm-4:oopm
Place: Ben McNally Books, 366 Bay Street, Toronto, ON

Praise for Miss Mousie’s Blind Date:

“Spring fever strikes even the rodents. And who knows where the heart leads? … Beiser’s sprightly text has warmth, heart, and a valuable lesson. Berman’s pictures, in watercolor and gouache on rag, suggest Beatrix Potter, ably matching the crisp elegance of the story. Wonderful.” – Starred Review from Kirkus Reviews