Book: How Smudge Came Author: Nan Gregory Illustrator: Ron Lightburn Publisher: Red Deer Press Date: December 12, 1995 Genre: Children's picture book Pages: 32, hardcover and paperback Price: may have to find used copies, so price varies from less than $1 used, to up to $19.50 in very good condition My rating: Such a sweet story with fabulous illustrations
How Smudge Came is a gorgeous hardcover book I purchased (unused) at the children’s book fair last year. The author wasn’t there, but I met the illustrator again, Ron Lightburn, whose work is fabulous. I reviewed his picture book here.
Look at the cover illustration of How Smudge Came. That immediately drew my attention to this book. The illustrations throughout are soft and beautiful, created with coloured pencils.
While walking home from her work at the hospice one cold rainy day, Cindy finds a little puppy and tucks him into her bag. She knows she’s not allowed pets so she sneaks him into her room at the group home, and the next day she hides him in the large pocket of her cleaning apron so he can stay with her while she works.
Residents at the hospice enjoy the puppy, but things turn sour for Cindy when he is found. The puppy, whom Cindy named Smudge, is taken away from her and given to the SPCA so a good home can be found for him. Cindy is very upset and determined to get him back, so with help finds where they took him. Things don’t go quite the way Cindy had in mind, though.
At first the reader will not pick up on the fact that Cindy is a young adult with Down Syndrome. She has a cleaning job and is able to travel by bus alone, and has the respect and appreciation of the people around her. The way Cindy is portrayed through how she speaks and the illustrations of her, children will understand how she feels. It’s easy to care about Cindy and Smudge.
This story is sad, but hopeful, and is told by Nan Gregory in such a gentle way with soothing illustrations by Ron Lightburn. The ending is very satisfying.
How Smudge Came won Mr. Christie’s Book Award for Best Canadian Children’s Book, won a B.C. Book Prize, was honoured as an “Our Choice” selection of the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, and was on the American Bookseller’s Pick of the Lists.
You can find How Smudge Came on my BUY THE BOOK page.
Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂