Books by Jirina Marton

BELLA’S TREE by Janet Russell
Released: Sept. 1, 2009

Bella and her dog Bruno vainly search for the perfect Christmas tree to correct Nan's "crooked" disposition. She chooses each tree with care, receiving a blessing from the neighborhood birds to cut down their homes. Though a disgruntled Nan decorates each tree, she only rejoices when the waxwings adorn the fir tree's branches inside their house on Christmas Day. Soft snow covers the trees' bending branches in Marton's oil pastels, and the birds' flashing colors lighten the wintry Newfoundland setting. Russell's storyteller's voice rings clear in the lengthy narrative, lending the tale a timeless quality. Nan's tree-identification songs (piggybacking on traditional tunes) sound an odd note, however—"All trees have leaves / but the leaves that leave / from deciduous trees / can pile up to your knees"—detracting from the charm of Bella's quest. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 2007

One might expect that these stories would examine the pivotal points when the four artists decided to take up sculpture or printmaking, but the world of art is far removed from the content of these pieces. Instead, they explore the rigors of life in the 20th-century Canadian arctic, but they also hint at the rough beauty that will be communicated through the artists' work. When the hunter husband of one artist dies, her family is in danger of starving. Kenojuak, the other female artist, recalls her childhood encounter with the sea goddess. In "Pudlo and Kapik Go Hunting," the artist anxiously watches his nephew Kapik jump from ice floe to ice floe to return to solid ground. The only tale related directly to the author through an interpreter focuses on the moment when a skilled hunter decides not to kill a polar bear. The other stories were retold from articles and autobiographical sources. A reproduction, a biographical sketch and a photo of the artist follow each story. Although the subject matter is engaging, the narration is flat. The glimpses of the artists' work are more intriguing than the illustrator's pastels, which include attractive landscapes, handsome animal portraits and human portrayals that vary in quality. (author's note, bibliography, glossary) (Nonfiction. 9-12)Read full book review >