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The Curiosity Cabinet

Written by Ian Wallace

  • 36 Pages
  • 9781554989225
  • 10" x 7.5"
  • from grade K
  • JUVENILE NONFICTION / Biography & Autobiography / Literary
  • JUVENILE NONFICTION / Curiosities & Wonders
  • JUVENILE NONFICTION / People & Places / Canada / General



Publication Date September 01, 2017

Ian Wallace, one of Canada’s best-known children’s book creators, invites us to look inside his cabinet of curiosities, which contains treasures from his decades of traveling the country from sea to sea to sea, sharing stories with young readers.

Over the past forty years, Ian Wallace has made thousands of school and library visits in tiny communities, towns and huge cities all across this land. Some of these visits have inspired young readers to become artists themselves; others have moved children to speak or act in new ways; others have simply given rise to the laughter and sheer delight that come from a good book.

In return, Ian has been the recipient of many gifts himself, from the wide range of experiences he has had to the mementos made by young children or artists in the communities he has visited. All these gifts come together in his cabinet of curiosities — an eclectic and personal collection that nonetheless represents and appreciates our rich and varied land.

Each double-page illustration shows a shelf in the cabinet dedicated to a province or territory with the gifts or special memories Ian has from that place — tamarack geese made by Cree artists in northern Ontario, a fishing-stage facade from Newfoundland, the Douglas fir trees in Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island, and much more.

Always experimenting with new techniques, Ian has illustrated the entire book in delicate graphite pencil, achieving stunning light and shadow. This is a beautiful and unusual contribution to Canada’s 150th birthday.

Includes an introduction and notes on the illustrations.


Ian Wallace

Ian Wallace is one of Canada’s best-known children’s book creators. Over a long and distinguished career he has published many picture-book classics, including Boy of the Deeps and Chin Chiang and the Dragon’s Dance. His illustrations for Canadian Railroad Trilogy and Just So Stories have each received three starred reviews.

Ian has won the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award, the Mr. Christie’s Book Award and the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award, among others. He has been nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award, the Governor General’s Award and the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award.


Praise for Canadian Railroad Trilogy

“…a huge and unusual project, and Wallace has executed it with admirable care.” Publishers Weekly, starred review

“The atmospheric illustrations ... capture not only the workers’ toil but also the splendor of the Canadian landscape and, obliquely, the price the displaced First Nations people paid for steam-train technology.” Kirkus, starred review

Praise for The Slippers’ Keeper

“This exquisitely illustrated picture book … introduces young readers to the concept of conservation and emphasizes that one person can make a difference.” School Library Journal


"This beautiful and unusual contribution to Canada's 150th birthday is very highly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections." The Midwest Book Review