On his first sight of Eulalie, Tom Thomson exclaimed: “She’s a little treasure – she can come painting with me!” Written from the dog’s point of view, this story tells how Eulalie lived with Tom in his studio in Toronto. Later they travelled together to the wild beauty of Algonquin Park in Northern Ontario. Eulalie was fascinated by Tom’s antics with his paste sticks as she called his paint brushes. It took her a while before she understood what Tom was doing. He was “catching the light”. In between Tom’s bouts of painting, they lived as a team in the wilderness of Algonquin Park. They camped and slept together in Tom’s blue tent. Tom canoed on the lakes and caught fish for their supper and Eulalie found good places for him to sketch. Eulalie was devoted to Tom from the day that they first met, and Tom felt the same way.
For child, parent or teacher, this book offers an engaging opportunity to get to know the work of one of Canada’s most celebrated artists and more about Algonquin Park. The book is vividly illustrated with Ruth MacLean’s evocative paper collages, for the most part based on Tom’s actual paintings. The text by Catherine Wilson has line drawings in the margins which bring alive the character of Eulalie. There is a short introduction that gives the background to Tom’s life, and the end pages give Gallery references to the Tom Thomson paintings that Ruth has used for her collage.
By the way, the story does tell about Tom’s mysterious death, a crushing blow to Eulalie, but it is gently told and allows the young reader to think aloud about what happens.